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CFE Suspension Implies Russia's Transition To New Security System - Analyst

MOSCOW. July 14 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree on Russia suspending its participation in the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty implies a transition to the construction of a new, lasting security system, Efficient Policy Foundation head Gleb Pavlovsky said.

"Today's decision is not propaganda, it is a transition to a new serious phase in Russia's construction of a new security architecture against the background of the world's rearmament near our borders," Pavlovsky said in a Saturday interview with Interfax.

"If today's message is ignored, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty will be next," Pavlovsky said.

This treaty significantly restricts Russia, while "virtually all countries along Russia's southern and western borders are being stuffed with" intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles, Pavlovsky said.

Providing its security in the southwestern area is crucially important for Russia, Pavlovsky said.

"A mad arms race in the Caucasus, Caspian, and Black Sea regions is underway, and it is being maintained by European and non-European countries, none of them restricted by the CFE," he said.

What is more preferable to Russia today is the construction of "new contractual balances" in Europe and Asia, Pavlovsky said.

"If the countries of Europe and Asia are prepared for this, Russia will be the first to agree to such negotiations," he said.

Pavlovsky emphasized that Putin's decree does not imply the denunciation of the CFE, but that only suspends its observance. This step was in large part provoked by the refusal of the Western signatories to the CFE to discuss Russia's arguments at a conference in June, he said.

"If the situation remains unchanged, it cannot be ruled out that Russia might renounce the CFE, but now the path toward further discussions has not yet been blocked. If NATO members ratify the treaty, Russia will return into it," Pavlovsky said.

The fact that the CFE has not been ratified by the NATO members poses a threat to Russia's security, as any of these countries can increase their conventional arsenals in Europe at any moment, he said.

The CFE in its present shape is "an anachronism of the period of detente of the 1980s and is pointless from the viewpoint of European security, as it was based on a world structure that has not existed for 15 years," he said.

As for the tying of the CFE ratification to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia and Moldova, on which Western countries insist, Pavlovsky called this "an absurd reason," as the kinds of arms that fall under the treaty have been fully pulled out from those countries.

"I don't think the U.S. is vitally interested in the CFE Treaty. What is absolutely important for America is the deployment of missile defense elements in Europe, and this issue is under consideration now within the framework of the proposals made by President Putin, and it has no relation to the CFE," Pavlovsky said.

"True, the U.S. might think that the moratorium is the price for (Russia's) consent to the deployment of missile defense elements in Europe, but, of course, this is not so," he said.