Benelux nations and NATO allies suspend CFE Treaty following Russia's exit
The Benelux countries announced in a joint statement on Tuesday that they, along with other NATO allies, are suspending the operation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). Russia's final withdrawal from the treaty took effect on Tuesday.
"This suspension is reversible and aims to preserve the current arms control architecture," said the statement issued by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The CFE Treaty sets limits on conventional heavy weapons, combined with a system of notification and verification. It was concluded in 1990 between NATO member states and former members of the Warsaw Pact. Other signatories include Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Kazakhstan.
'Cornerstone of European security architecture'
The three countries condemned Russia's decision to withdraw from the treaty, which they called "a cornerstone of the European security architecture". "The Russian withdrawal comes at a time when Russia is waging an unprovoked, illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine," their statement read.
"These Russian actions once again lead to a further deterioration of the broader security architecture in Europe. (...) We cannot accept a situation where NATO allies remain committed to implementing the treaty while Russia has withdrawn from it."
The countries say they "remain firmly committed to conventional arms control as a key element of Euro-Atlantic security, based on fundamental principles such as reciprocity, transparency and host country consent". Germany announced on Tuesday that it would continue to adhere to the treaty's national arms quotas despite the suspension of its participation.
© BELGA PHOTO POOL JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE