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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Istanbul, Turkey)
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.

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:

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