Fresh pact for Europe's new order
Friday 25 July 1997
Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary and diplomats yesterday hailed the outline agreement, reached under British chairmanship, as a triumph, coming so shortly after Nato's decision to invite three new members - Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - to join the alliance in the face of Russian opposition.
Since it came into force in July 1992, the treaty has resulted in the destruction of more than 50,000 heavy weapons and armoured vehicles, but the new agreement will lead to further cuts in conventional arms.
The treaty was originally devised for the opposed military blocs of the Cold War. By the time it entered into force the Warsaw Pact Alliance and the Soviet Union itself had broken up. Since then, the Russians have pressed to have it modernised to reflect the new strategic geography.
The outline agreement abolishes the bloc-to-bloc basis of the original treaty. Instead, each country will have its own equipment quota.
Furthermore, many countries, including Britain and Russia, have agreed to new, lower quotas for the heavy weapons limited by the treaty - tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and helicopters.
Britain's quotas are cut by about five per cent - from 1,015 to 843 tanks, for example, but since its current holdings are far below the quotas, no more equipment has to be destroyed.
The Russians also argued that special limits on the heavy weapons deployed on the "flanks" - the Caucasus and the Baltic - should be lifted, mainly because they cramped their style dealing with problems in the Caucasus such as Chechnya. However, under Wednesday's agreement, those limits will remain.
The revised treaty will continue to allow temporary deployments of forces, which will enable Nato troops, for example, to exercise in the territory of the newly invited candidates. The revised treaty is due to be finalised by the end of 1998.
"This is good news for European security," Robin Cook said yesterday. He had discussed the outline agreement with Russian Foreign secretary Yevgeny Primakov on his visit to Moscow last week.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...