THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 19, 1999
Adaptation of the
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)
Background: The 1990 CFE Treaty
The CFE Treaty was signed in Paris on November 19, 1990 by the 22 NATO and Warsaw Pact nations. The Treaty established equal East-West limits on five key categories of conventional armaments -- battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft and attack helicopters -- and thus eliminated the Warsaw Pact's longstanding numerical superiority in armor and artillery.
Subsequent to the break-up of the Soviet Union, all Soviet successor states with territory in the CFE area of application (Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals) joined the Treaty, so that Treaty Parties now number 30. Since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the break-up of the USSR, and NATO enlargement, the two-group structure has become obsolete.
More than 70,000 pieces of Treaty-Limited Equipment have been destroyed under the CFE Treaty and its associated documents, and thousands of intrusive on-site inspections have been conducted. The Treaty's detailed reporting and inspection requirements have provided unprecedented transparency and predictability of military forces in Europe; that will continue.
The 1999 Adapted Treaty
The Adaptation Agreement signed today updates the 1990 Treaty to create a new, highly stable, transparent set of limitations on conventional forces, and bring it in line with today's European security environment. In signing this agreement, we and the other States Parties have demonstrated our common commitment to enhancing security and stability in Europe.
- New Structure of Limitations. The Adaptation Agreement replaces the Treaty's obsolete bloc-to-bloc structure with nationally-based limits. Each state will have a national ceiling. States with territory in the CFE area of application will also have a territorial ceiling limiting the total amount of equipment that can be on their soil. This structure will, for example:
- eliminate the outdated requirement for our new NATO allies to coordinate their equipment limits with Russia and other former Warsaw Pact countries;
- reinforce the territorial sovereignty of individual States Parties by setting limits on a state-by-state basis; and
- retain the principle of special restrictions on forces, including Russian forces, in the Treaty's flank region.
- Enhanced Transparency. The Adaptation Agreement builds on the original Treaty's intrusive verification and information regime. Under the adapted Treaty, States Parties will be required to provide more information than they provide on their forces currently. Quotas for mandatory on-site inspections will be increased.
- Host Nation Consent. The Adaptation Agreement strengthens requirements for host nation consent to the presence of foreign forces, including notifications to all parties as to whether such consent has been granted. These provisions address a key security concern of a number of non-NATO states, including Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. These requirements would not apply to NATO deployments in Kosovo because the Former Republic of Yugoslavia is not a CFE Party and, even if it were, the deployments there are authorized under the UN Charter.
- Accession Clause. The Adaptation Agreement allows for extending this stable security regime by opening it to other European states. Accession would be subject to approval by all 30 Parties.
CFE adaptation preserves NATO's ability to fulfill its post-Cold War responsibilities and is consistent with NATO's "Open Door" to potential new members. It will set new territorial ceilings at levels appropriate to peacetime stability, but allow for NATO operational flexibility to exceed these ceilings temporarily, for routine training purposes or reinforcement in a crisis. It also records the plans of a number of States Parties to adopt lower national ceilings, as a reflection of the changes in military requirements in Europe since 1990.
CFE Final Act
The CFE Final Act, also adopted by the CFE States Parties in Istanbul, contains a number of political commitments related to the adapted CFE Treaty. In particular:
- Responding to the concerns of many CFE States Parties about the implications of Russian deployments in Chechnya for CFE compliance, the Final Act includes a reaffirmation of Russia's November 1, 1999 commitment to fulfill all its obligations under the Treaty, in particular with respect to equipment levels in the flank region.
- The Final Act contains a Russian commitment to exercise restraint in its future deployments in the Kaliningrad and Pskov oblasts, which border the Baltic states.
- A number of countries in the center of Europe have committed not to increase, and in some cases, to reduce, their CFE territorial ceilings.
- The Final Act also reflects agreements between Georgia and Russia and between Moldova and Russia on withdrawals of Russian forces from their territories, reached in the last few days. These agreements were developed consistent with the adapted Treaty's enhanced provisions on host nation consent to the presence of foreign forces.