Moscow rejects accusations of non-fulfillment of Istanbul agreements

RIA Novosti, Russia
March 18 2004


MOSCOW, March 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) – Accusations of Russia’s
non-fulfillment of the agreements reached at the Istanbul OSCE summit
in 1999 is the pretext for delaying the ratification of the adapted
Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, Russian First Deputy Foreign
Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov said in an interview with journalists.

“We pursue the policy of constructive relations with the United
States and NATO. Sometimes our partners aberrate from it and float
the idea that without the liquidation of the Russian military bases
in Georgia ratification of CFE treaty is impossible (two Russian
military bases remain in Georgia: one in Batumi, capital of the
Adzharian autonomy, and the other in Akhalkalaki on the border with
Armenia)”, he said.

“We see the attempts to put the blame on us for ‘the non-fulfilment
of the Istanbul agreements’ as an invented pretext for
procrastinating the ratification of the agreement on the adaptation
of the CFE treaty,” Vyacheslav Trubnikov stressed.

Russia has early and in full performed all its obligations for the
pullout of arms and military equipment, limited by the treaty, from
Georgia and Moldova, the interview says. “We have substantially
become close to the solution of problems unrelated to the CFE treaty
– the closure of the Russian military bases in Georgia and the
withdrawal of military equipment from Transdniestria (the land on the
left bank of the Dniester river populated by multiethnic
Russian-speaking people. In the early 90s it proclaimed itself the
“independent” Transdniestrian Moldovan republic with the capital in
Tiraspol),” Trubnikov said.

“There are no legal obstacles for the start of ratification of the
agreement on the CFE treaty adaptation. We invite our partners to
begin it without artificial procrastination,” he said.