Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)

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Russia formally withdrew from the Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) recently.

About Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)

  • Negotiated during the final years of the Cold War and signed a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, CFE placed limits on the deployment of military equipment to maintain military balance between North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the then-Warsaw Pact countries.
  • Its purpose was to stop Cold War rivals from building up forces that could be used in a swift assault. 
  • Twenty-two member states of the two military alliances, the NATO and the Warsaw Pact, came together in Paris on 19 November 1990 to sign the agreement.
  • It finally entered into force on 9 November 1992. The Warsaw Pact by this time had disintegrated and its treaty obligations were consequently passed to the pact’s successor states.
  • Specifically, the Treaty required NATO and Warsaw Pact states to have in total no more than 40,000 battle tanks, 60,000 armoured combat vehicles, 40,000 pieces of artillery, 13,600 combat aircraft and 4,000 attack helicopters on the whole territory of the respective alliance.
  • To reach these targets, the CFE states parties destroyed in subsequent years more than 50,000 weapons systems. 
  • These steps were supervised under a treaty compliance mechanism requiring information sharing and reciprocal inspections.
  • Moreover, the scope of the treaty was soon widened to cover troop numbers. The 1992 follow-up agreement known as the CFE-1A arranged limits on the level of military personnel.
  • Meeting at the Istanbul summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), CFE Treaty partners finally agreed, on 19 November 1999, on an updated and modified arrangement: the Adapted CFE Treaty. 
  • A major change was that limitations on conventional weapon systems were no longer aligned to two “blocs” but to the territorial borders of individual states.
  • Russia suspended its participation in the treaty in 2007 and halted active participation in 2015.

What is Warsaw Pact?

  • The Warsaw Treaty Organization (Warsaw Pact) was a political and military alliance established on May 14, 1955 between the Soviet Union and several Eastern European countries.
  • The Soviet Union formed this alliance as a counterbalance to the NATO, a collective security alliance concluded between the United States, Canada and Western European nations in 1949.
  • The original signatories to the Warsaw Treaty Organization were the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and the German Democratic Republic.
  • Although the members of the Warsaw Pact pledged to defend each other if one or more of them came under attack, emphasized non-interference in the internal affairs of its members, and supposedly organized itself around collective decision-making, the Soviet Union ultimately controlled most of the Pact’s decisions.
  • It was officially disbanded in March and July of 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Q1) What is the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)?

With 57 States drawn from Europe, Central Asia and America, OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization.It offers a forum for political negotiations and decision-making in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, and puts the political will of the participating States into practice through its unique network of field missions.All 57 participating States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis.

Source: Russia formally withdraws from key post-Cold War European armed forces treaty