[R-G] Putin Declares Moratorium on CFE Treaty + Russian Official Dismisses U.S. Shield Cooperation

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 19:03:44 MDT 2007


<http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?id_issue=11721780>
Apr 26 2007 1:23PM
Putin declares moratorium on CFE Treaty

MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has
suggested declaring a moratorium on Russia's observance of the
Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty until all NATO
member-states have joined it.

"I deem it appropriate to declare a moratorium on Russia's observance
of this treaty at least until all NATO countries without any exception
have ratified it," Putin said in his state of the nation address on
Thursday.

<http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-04-24T184113Z_01_L24209157_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-SHIELD-GATES-COL.XML&archived=False>
Russian official dismisses U.S. shield cooperation
Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:41 PM EDT
By Kristin Roberts

WARSAW (Reuters) - Russia's foreign minister on Tuesday dismissed a
U.S. offer of cooperation in missile defence activities, marking a
setback in Bush administration efforts to convince Moscow and allies
of plans for a European shield.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia felt it was being handed a
fait accompli by Washington and had no interest in participating in
the defence plan.

That came despite an attempt on Monday by U.S. Defense Secretary
Robert Gates to allay Russian objections to plans for an anti-missile
shield in eastern Europe by offering Moscow a chance to cooperate, for
example, by sharing data from early warning systems and conducting
joint exercises.

"We have the impression that everything has already been decided in
Washington," Lavrov told reporters in Luxembourg. "We cannot really
see that we could join."

He also warned the U.S. plan, if implemented, "could destabilize the
situation in Europe."

Those comments followed Gates' meetings in Moscow, where he received a
cool reception from senior leaders, including President Vladimir
Putin. It also came as Poland's defence minister said for Warsaw to
accept Washington's plan, the shield must increase security for
Poland.

Washington wants to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a
radar in the Czech Republic to defend against what it perceives as a
potential future threat from Iran.

But the plan has provoked an angry reaction and determined opposition
in Moscow, which thinks the U.S. shield may hurt its national
security. The dispute has helped drive relations between Moscow and
Washington to a low, drawing comparisons to the Cold War.

Some European countries, in fact, fear a resurgence of Cold War-like
hostility that will catch Europe again between two large adversaries.

"We don't want to be a football in between Russia and the United
States," Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, an early critic
of the U.S. missile shield plan, told reporters in Luxembourg on
Tuesday. "We want the United States, Russia and Europe to play
together in a common defence project."

POLISH CONCERNS

The plan has caused concerns in Poland as well, with surveys showing
most Poles oppose the idea and fear the country could become a target
of a terrorist attack.

Warsaw is a strong U.S. ally, having committed forces to the U.S.-led
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senior Bush administration officials had said they expect Poland to
take the next step toward hosting a piece of the missile defence
system by agreeing to negotiate on a site. But the Polish government
was clearly not ready to make the move on Tuesday.

"What has been presented to Poland is only a proposal," Defence
Minister Aleksander Szczyglo told reporters after meeting with Gates
in Warsaw on Tuesday. "On the premise of a proposal, it would be
groundless to forecast what may happen or what may not happen."

He said the plan must increase Poland's security to be accepted.

"The condition of success of negotiations in this respect is only one
--- these negotiations can be successful if the level of Poland's
security is thus increased."

When asked, Szczyglo declined to say if that meant Warsaw wanted U.S.
Patriot missiles to defend against a potential threat from Russia
should Poland accept Washington's proposal over Moscow's objections.

Gates next heads to Berlin to discuss the U.S. proposal with Germany's
defence minister on Wednesday.

Missile defence is also expected to dominate a meeting between
Russia's Lavrov and NATO foreign ministers, including U.S. Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, in Oslo on Thursday. (Additional reporting
by David Brunnstrom and Michele Sinner in Luxembourg)

<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6595233.stm>
Thursday, 26 April 2007, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Excerpts: Putin's address

Vladimir Putin has attacked foreign intervention in Russia, the US
missile defence plan and called for an increase in domestic oil
processing in a defiant final annual address to parliament before he
steps down as Russian president in 2008.

ON FOREIGN INTERVENTION

Some want to return to the past to rob the people and the state, to
plunder the natural resources and deprive our country of its political
and economic independence. The financial flow from abroad is expanding
to intervene in our internal affairs.

Democratising slogans are used, but the goal is the same: to gain
unilateral advantages and personal benefits, to secure one's own
interests. Some people are even using the most dirty techniques,
trying to incite interethnic and interconfessional conflicts in our
multinational, democratic country. In this regard, I urge you to
quickly adopt amendments to legislation that toughen responsibility
for extremist activities.

ON OIL

In 2006 Russia was the world's top oil producing country. But in the
area of oil processing we are fundamentally lagging behind. The
government should draw up a system of measures to stimulate an
increase in the processing of raw materials within Russia.

Without infringing the interests of our foreign partners, we should
nonetheless think of the development of our own processing base.

ON MISSILE DEFENCE

It is obvious that the United States' plans to deploy a missile
defence system in Europe are not exclusively a Russian-American
relations problem. To some extent it affects the interests of all
European states, including those that are not Nato members This issue
deserves, I would even say demands, to be discussed at the OSCE
(Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe), in the
framework of the organisation's military-political dimension.

It is time to fill the OSCE's activities with real content, to steer
the organisation to face the problems that truly concern the peoples
of Europe, rather than merely seeking fleas across the former Soviet
Union.

ON HIS SUCCESSOR

The next state of the nation address will be given by another head of
state ... it is premature for me to declare a political will.

ON BORIS YELTSIN

He considered a direct, open dialogue with people to be exceptionally
important. He considered it necessary to present the problems and
priorities of state policy for public discussion. He saw in that one
of the most important tools for uniting society, tools for real
democracy.

The real threat to the security of Russia and its integrity was
separatism. In this respect, there was a critical lack of resources to
solve the most fundamental, vital problems. But it was precisely in
that period - in that difficult period - that the foundation of future
changes was laid.

ON THE MILITARY

The re-equipment of units with new and modernised weapons and
technology is going according to plan.

An important indicator of the state of the armed forces is the state
of the social guarantee system for military personnel and their family
members. By 2010, the task to give them permanent housing has to be
solved unconditionally.

ON RUSSIA'S ECONOMY

Despite the social and political problems, we built a new life. As a
result, the situation in the country - slowly, step by step - began to
change for the better. Now, not only have we fully ended the decline
of production, we have become one of the ten biggest economies in the
world.

ON 2007 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

The forthcoming election to the State Duma will be based for the first
time on the so-called proportional system. This means that only
political parties will take part in the election.

I would stress that we have knowingly taken this, in essence
revolutionary, step and have seriously democratised the electoral
system. We should directly say that previous elections based on the
old single-seat system, or single-seat constituencies to be exact, did
not prevent influential regional structures from passing their
so-called own candidates with the use of administrative resources.

I'm convinced that the new electoral procedure will not only step up
the parties' influence over the formation of democratic power, but
will also contribute to the growth of rivalry among them.
Consequently, it will strengthen and improve the quality of the
Russian political system .

ON NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS

In democratic conditions, it is impossible to imagine political
processes without the participation of non-governmental associations,
without consideration for their views and positions.

The number of non-governmental organisations operating in this country
is also growing, as is their number of voluntary members, who perform
various socially important functions, and various kinds of socially
important work. There are already about eight million of them in
Russia. All these are real indicators of an active civil society
forming in Russia.
--
Yoshie




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