Clinton urges Russia transparency for treaty

15th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced hope Friday for reviving a treaty with Russia on conventional weapons but insisted that Moscow be fully transparent on its military deployments.

Russia suspended compliance in 2007 with the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty amid rising tension with the United States. But relations have improved since President Barack Obama took over, with the two sides sealing a landmark treaty on reducing nuclear arms.

Clinton, meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said an agreement on conventional weapons would follow up on the goodwill seen last year in Lisbon when President Dmitry Medvedev visited a NATO summit in Lisbon.

"Nothing would advance the spirit of Lisbon like launching new negotiations to strengthen and modernise conventional arms control for the 21st century," Clinton told Lavrov on the sidelines of NATO talks in Berlin.

"But to get there, Russia must be willing to talk to its neighbours about its equipment and forces in disputed territories," she said, according to the prepared remarks.

"And in light of the extensive reorganisation of the Russian military over the last few years, it must be completely transparent about its military forces," she said.

The Conventional Forces in Europe, a key agreement at the end of the Cold War, was signed in 1990 in Paris and governed the deployment of weapons all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. It was updated in 1999.

But NATO countries refused to ratify the amended treaty until Russian troops withdraw from the ex-Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova. The Western alliance said the deployment violated the deal, charges denied by Moscow.

© 2011 AFP

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