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Czech Republic regrets Russia's withdrawal from CFE

The Czech Republic on Saturday regretted Russia's decision to withdraw from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty.

The government can see no matter-of-fact reason for such a decision, said Zuzana Opletalova, a spokeswoman of the Czech Foreign Ministry. „The treaty is a foundation stone to European Security, and the security can be threatened if the treaty is withdrawn from,” she said. „We hope that Russia will stop its unilateral steps and return to the negotiation table,” Opletalova said.

Moscow announced on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed a decree suspending Russia's participation in the CFE due to „extraordinary circumstances ... which affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures. During the CFE treaty suspension, Russia will not be bound by any conventional weapons limits. Information provision and inspections will be suspended for some time, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The CFE, signed by 22 states in Paris on November 19, 1990, represented an agreement between North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and Warsaw Pact countries. It was aimed at establishing a military balance in Europe by cutting weapons of conventional armed forces. Russia had threatened several times to withdraw from the CFE when it was at odds with the United States over US plans to install a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. (