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Russia hopes to reach agreement with West on CFE Treaty

Moscow, 9 April: Russia hopes to find a mutually acceptable solution with its Western partners on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

"As for the CFE Treaty, the Russia-US dialogue on the American problem is highly important and we are interested in overcoming the deadlock in which the CFE Treaty ended up because of the refusal of NATO countries to ratify the agreement on its adaptation to the new realities, which should reflect the liquidation of the disbanding of the Warsaw Pact, Lavrov said on Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia) radio on Thursday (9 April).

However, to overcome the deadlock, "not only bilateral efforts are needed, it is necessary to arrange a dialogue with the participation of all the countries that are part of the arrangements stipulated by this treaty," he said.

Lavrov noted that Russia's proposals "have been on the negotiating table" for more than two years.

"I hope we will be able to find outcomes that take into account the interests of security for all sides and do not create unjustified unilateral advantages for anybody," he said. (Passage omitted).

Lavrov recalled that the heads of state (presidents of Russia and the USA) instructed foreign policy chiefs of the two countries to prepare specific proposals on the broadest range of questions by the next summit, which is to be held in Moscow this summer.

In particular, the foreign minister said that among the priorities is the document that will replace the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START). "This treaty expires in December, and the presidents reaffirmed the need to do everything to draw up a new agreement by the end of this year," Lavrov said.

In this regard Lavrov noted that that the previous US administration was ready to talk only about limiting nuclear offensive weapons, leaving to one side non-nuclear strategic weapons.