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    British think tank warns Russian exit from CFE would harm Europe

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    The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a U.K.-based political-military research institute, warned on Tuesday that if Russia abandons the CFE treaty there could be serious consequences for Europe.

    LONDON, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a U.K.-based political-military research institute, warned on Tuesday that if Russia abandons the CFE treaty there could be serious consequences for Europe.

    Russia imposed in December 2007 a unilateral moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty on arms reduction, but said it would resume its participation after North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries ratify the document.

    In a statement on the release of the IISS Military Balance 2008 report, the think tank's chief executive John Chipman said: "It is understood that after July 2008 Moscow will formally withdraw from the Treaty and there is little sign at present of a compromise that could avert this. The end of CFE Treaty, the cornerstone of post-Cold war European security, could have negative consequences for Europe."

    "It will abolish an important confidence-building mechanism - including the exchange of data and an inspection regime - and introduce new tensions between Russia and its neighbors, particularly if Russia decides to redeploy its troops closer to NATO member states."

    The adapted version of the CFE treaty, aimed at regulating the deployment of non-nuclear weapons on the continent, was signed on November 19, 1999, and has so far been ratified only by Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

    NATO countries' refusal of the updated version of the Soviet-era CFE, has proved a major stumbling block in Russia-NATO relations.

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