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Belarus suspends the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a law suspending the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), News.Az reports, citing a document posted on the government’s legal information website.

“The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe of November 19, 1990 is suspended,” reads the law adopted by the Upper House of Belarus in early May.

In early April, the press service of the President of Belarus reported that the head of state agreed to submit to the House of Representatives a draft law on suspending the country’s participation in the CFE Treaty, which Minsk signed in 1992. According to the press service, Belarus has fully fulfilled its obligations under treaty, while in 2022 the Czech Republic and in 2023 Poland decided to suspend the CFE Treaty in relation to Belarus, and Minsk took retaliatory actions against these two countries in October 2023. Moreover, in November 2023, NATO countries decided to suspend its participation in the treaty for an indefinite period of time, which, according to Belarus, essentially means suspension of the treaty itself.

The press service of the Belarusian president reported that the draft law “provides for the suspension of the CFE Treaty, which does not mean Belarus withdrawing from it or ceasing the military implementation of internal procedures for this reason.” The Belarusian Ministry of Defense announced that Minsk does not plan to increase the number of military equipment and weapons in the near future in connection with the CFE Treaty.

The CFE Treaty provides for limits on overall levels of conventional weapons and equipment, as well as mechanisms for checking compliance with obligations, including exchange of information and inspections. The treaty was signed in 1990 and amended in 1997. NATO countries did not ratify the adapted version of the document and continued to stick to the 1990 provisions, which included conventional weapons standards out of balance between the alliance and the now-defunct Warsaw Pact organization.

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