THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press
November 19, 1999
Adaptation of the
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
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- eliminate the outdated requirement for our new NATO allies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
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 ActThe 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
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.
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