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Conventional Forces Europe Treaty

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the (a) status and (b) effectiveness of the Conventional Forces Europe Treaty. (232601)

[holding answer 3 November 2008]: The United Kingdom, along with NATO allies, continues to honour all our obligations under the treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe (CFE) although Russia suspended its participation on 12 December 2007. With NATO allies, we therefore continue to promote engagement with Russia with a view to reaching an agreed way forward. Russia's actions in Georgia have called into question its commitment to the principles on which stability and security in Europe are based, principles which underpin the CFE regime. Nevertheless, with NATO allies, we remain firmly committed to the CFE treaty and wish to achieve the earliest possible entry into force of the Agreement on Adaptation.

The CFE treaty has enabled the unprecedented provision for information exchanges, on-site inspections (over 4 000 on-site inspections have been conducted) and on-site monitoring of the destruction of above limit equipment. It has reduced military capability across the treaty area (60,000 items of treaty limited equipment have been destroyed or removed from its area of application) and it has reduced the potential for surprise attack in the treaty area. The resulting transparency measures underpin European confidence and security building efforts.