Office of the Press Secretary
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
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eliminate the outdated requirement for our new NATO allies to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
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
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 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:
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 ceilings.
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.