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Estonia serious on joining Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe

Foreign Ministry Deputy Chancellor Harri Tiido said on Wednesday that Estonia is seriously considering joining the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE), according to local media reports. Tiido noted that the original CFE treaty, which was signed in November 1990 by NATO and Warsaw Pact countries, was not open to new members, and the updated version signed in 1999 has not yet been ratified and so is not in force.

His comments were prompted by recent statements by Russian officials, including Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, that the Baltic States should sign the CFE treaty before joining NATO, otherwise the potentially destabilising possibility that NATO could place large amounts of weaponry there would remain open. Tiido called Russian concerns about this "groundless" and added, "The accession of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to NATO would increase the number of Russia's partners in NATO by its three neighbours, and that is a positive, rather than negative, outlook."

(NewsBase 05.viii.02)

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