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Russia ready to discuss CFE Treaty with U.S. despite moratorium

MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - Despite a recent moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, Russia is ready to discuss the issue with the United States, the Russian foreign minister told the U.S. Secretary of State on the phone.

Late last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin imposed a moratorium on Russia's observance of the CFE Treaty and related agreements, citing the "extraordinary circumstances concerning Russia's security that require emergency measures."

"[Russian Foreign Minister] Sergei Lavrov has informed the U.S. Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] of Russia's motives for suspending its participation in the CFE Treaty, and emphasized the [country's] readiness to continue discussing CFE-related issues and other strategic security problems with the United States," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

In the telephone conversation initiated by the United States the parties also discussed Tuesday several international issues, in particular prospects for holding an international conference on the Middle East, the Iranian nuclear program and Kosovo.

Russia will consider the CFE Treaty and related international agreements frozen 150 days after all participants in the treaty have received notices from the country.

Among other things, Russia will not comply with any conventional arms limits, the Foreign Ministry said, however, the amount of Russian weapons will depend on the situation in the military and political spheres. The Foreign Ministry added that the moratorium "does not imply that we are shutting the doors to further dialogue."