BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 10:46 GMT
Russia suspends arms treaty
A Russian tank. File photo
Russia says that the CFE treaty has become meaningless
Russia's parliament has voted to suspend Moscow's support for a key treaty limiting the deployment of armed forces along its border with Europe.

Parliament's lower house, the Duma, unanimously agreed to temporarily abandon the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (CFE).

The bill still faces approval in the upper house in December before President Vladimir Putin can sign it.

The CFE is one of many issues recently putting Moscow at odds with the West.

The Duma approved the bill in the 418-0 vote.

Cornerstone of European security
Limits amount of key military equipment in designated area
Negotiated by Nato and ex-Warsaw Pact member states
Signed in 1990
Came into force in 1992
Revised 1999 version never ratified by Nato

In the motion, MPs said the CFE treaty "no longer responds to the security interests of the Russian Federation" in light of Nato expansion and other factors in Europe.

The vote amounted to legislative confirmation of a decree signed by President Putin in July.

The CFE was one of the most significant arms control agreements of the Cold War years.

It set strict limits on the number of conventional weapons - battle tanks, combat aircraft, heavy artillery - that the members of the Warsaw Pact and Nato could deploy in European territory stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Urals.

In the wake of the collapse of communism, the treaty was revised in 1999, in part to address Russian concerns.

Russia ratified the 1999 revised version, but Nato has not done so.

Nato states are first demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia and Moldova, but Moscow says the issues are not linked.

The Kremlin has also voiced concern over US plans to station part of a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific