THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Istanbul, Turkey) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release November 19, 1999
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today I joined the leaders of 30 nations in signing an Agreement that will adapt the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) to the post-Cold War world.
The original CFE Treaty limited the armaments of the Eastern and Western blocs, a division that has happily been erased since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The adapted Treaty will place legally binding limits on the armed forces of every individual country that is party to it, from the Atlantic to the Urals. It will require nations to provide more information about their deployment of military equipment. It will strengthen the requirement that host nations must consent to the deployment of foreign forces on their territory, which speaks directly to the interests of a number of nations of the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
The Adaptation Agreement will also open the Treaty to accession by other European countries. And it will preserve NATO's ability to fulfill its post-Cold War responsibilities.
In all these ways, the adapted Treaty will enhance peace, security and stability throughout Europe. Therefore, it is in America's national interest to sign it now, and to lock in the commitment of other nations to its terms. At the same time, in order to reap these benefits, we must have confidence that there will be real compliance.
Russia has pledged that it will comply with the flank provisions of the adapted Treaty by reducing its forces in the North Caucasus. This must be done as soon as possible. I will only submit this Agreement to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification when Russian forces have in fact been reduced to the flank levels set forth in the adapted Treaty.
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