Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Russia calls for security treaty

UNBALANCED The foreign minister said some nations are no longer avoiding any means to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others

AGENCIES , UNITED NATIONS, KARALETI, GEORGIA AND NAZRAN, RUSSIA

Russia called on Monday for a new European-Atlantic security treaty embracing all countries and security organizations including NATO, the EU and post-Soviet bodies that would restore strategic parity.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the parity, which has long been the basis of strategic stability across the Atlantic, is becoming unbalanced because NATO has eclipsed the Cold War collective security system that has become dominated by the US.

Lavrov said in a speech on Saturday to the UN General Assembly that work on the new treaty could be started at a pan-European summit and include governments and organizations in the region.

He referred to it as “a kind of Helsinki-2,” a follow-up to the 1975 Helsinki Treaty.

That treaty between all European nations, together with the US and Canada, evolved into the present-day Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the largest conflict-prevention and security organization on the continent.

Elaborating on the proposal, first put forward in June by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Lavrov told a news conference that the OSCE principles, especially “the need to avoid any means to strengthen your own security at the expense of the security of others,” are no longer being followed.

He cited several examples of “strategic stability being strained” including Washington’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the US decision to install anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic and the establishment of US bases in Bulgaria and Romania.

Lavrov said that “negotiations [for a strategic arms limitation treaty] are not so far heading anywhere because our US colleagues do not want to keep limits on the delivery vehicles and on nuclear warheads at storage. They only want to keep some limits on the operationally deployed nuclear warheads.”

EU MONITORS

Meanwhile, EU ceasefire monitors will for now not operate inside a security zone south of Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region but talks on access are continuing, Russia’s military said yesterday.

“From tomorrow, representatives of the European Union will begin conducting monitoring up to the southern borders of the security zone,” Vitaly Manushko, head of the temporary press center for the Russian peacekeeping force around South Ossetia, told reporters.

Under a French-brokered ceasefire deal, Russian troops stationed in Georgia since a brief war in August are to pull back from undisputed Georgian territory by Oct. 10, and allow EU monitors to take over duties patrolling the security zone.

Manushko said Russian and EU officials, meeting in the Georgian village of Karaleti yesterday, had not finalized a technical and logistical agreement that would have allowed the EU monitors to enter the security zone from today.

SUICIDE BOMB

In related news, a suicide car bomber blew himself up yesterday in Russia’s southern republic of Ingushetia in an apparent attempt to kill the region’s Interior Minister, police said.

Three bystanders and a motorist were wounded in the region’s main city of Nazran when the bomber blew up his Lada saloon as Interior Minister Mussa Medov and his bodyguards pulled alongside in their armored Mercedes, police said.

Medov and his bodyguards were not hurt, although their vehicle was severely damaged and a 2m crater was left in the road surface.

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