Adapting the CFE Treaty to New Realities and Challenges   [open pdf - 291KB]

Since its inception, "CFE (Conventional Armed Forces in Europe) has become both a process and a venue for continuous dialogue on the security concerns of its participants and, whenever possible, cooperative solutions," says Dunkerley, Special Envoy for CFE. "This dynamic within CFE -- between reinforcing stability and addressing change -- will remain one of its greatest strengths." Since early 1997, negotiations have been under way in Vienna to update the CFE Treaty to take account of dramatic changes throughout Europe since the treaty was originally signed in 1990. These negotiations, taking place among the 30 States Parties within the CFE Joint Consultative Group (JCG), are intended to preserve the treaty's critical benefits, even while establishing a new structure of limitations providing increased stability and transparency. At the same time, individual States Parties have set out projected levels for their future national and territorial ceilings under an adapted CFE Treaty. For many of them, this would involve reductions in their permitted levels in two or more categories of Treaty-Limited Equipment. (In light of the drastic change in circumstances from the 1980s to the present, for example, the United States proposes to cut by more than 50 percent the number of tanks it has been permitted to have in Europe under the treaty. This does not imply a major change to the United States' actual military presence, but rather recognition that original CFE-permitted levels need to adjust to a new security environment.) But much still needs to be done. There are tough decisions ahead for all parties. Translating the work done thus far, and the underlying political agreements, into legal treaty text is a major task. Important details are still open -- especially if we are to secure the necessary transparency this future CFE regime will require. No less critical are the continued efforts of the United States and its allies to ensure the full and timely implementation of all existing CFE obligations under the current treaty and its associated documents. Implementation is the foundation on which successful adaptation can go forward.

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Responding to the Challenge of Proliferation: U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda: An Electronic Journal of the U.S. Department of State, v.4, no.2, p. 19-21
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