Washington supports the continuation of dialogue with Russia to increase transparency, but beware at this stage to enter into any new agreement, told Reuters the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Daniel Baer.
“We will focus on existing agreements and try to make sure that they worked as they should, and we continue to deal with current issues of serious concern,” said Baer in Berlin ahead of a meeting of OSCE members, which will take place in Potsdam.
The diplomat added that “in the context of the situation, when Russia is violating a lot of agreements, the idea of any new agreements should be treated with some caution”.
Baer recalled that Russia has suspended participation in meetings of the joint Advisory group on the implementation of the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe (CFE) and does not comply with the 1992 agreement on open skies and the Vienna agreement of 1990 on the exchange of information and mutual inspection of military facilities.
Last week the Minister of foreign Affairs of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is in this year the position of Chairman of the OSCE, proposed to conclude with Russia a new Treaty on arms control. His initiative was supported by his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault, said Reuters.
On Thursday, Steinmeier said that 40 of the 57 OSCE members agreed to discuss his proposal. “We need intensive discussion now on, when after the annexation of Crimea, and given the conflict in the East of Ukraine the East and the West has obviously lost the confidence to each other, especially the West and Russia”, — he said.
Commenting on the proposal of Steinmeier, Director of the Department for nonproliferation and arms control, the Russian foreign Ministry Mikhail Ulyanov said that “the old CFE Treaty is outdated and completely return to him there, but talking about something new possible.” “However, they initiate a dialogue on this subject we are not going,” — said the Russian diplomat.