A Russian proposal for a new European security treaty has drawn support from some former Soviet states, but Western government leaders and others have reacted coolly to the plan.
The text of the draft treaty was published Nov. 29 on the Kremlin’s official Web site, which said the pact would “finally do away with the Cold War legacy.”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent the draft to the heads of state and international organizations in the Euro-Atlantic region. The proposal came ahead of the Dec. 1-2 ministerial council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in
Speaking on Russian television Dec. 1, Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said some alliance members were trying to block
At the OSCE meeting, several delegates agreed on the need to improve European security, but few mentioned the Russian proposal. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Dec. 17 the alliance was prepared to discuss the draft but he saw no need for a new agreement. He noted that a security framework already existed in the form of the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, the Charter for European Security of 1999, and the Rome Declaration of 2002.
In the statement on its Web site, the Kremlin said the new European security treaty would be based on the principle that no nation or organization is “entitled to strengthen its own security at the cost of other nations or organizations.” The draft would enable signatories to object to actions by others and call a summit if they considered their security under threat.
According to Article 2 of the draft, parties to the treaty would have to ensure that decisions within the framework of organizations and alliances to which they belong “do not affect significantly security of any Party or Parties to the Treaty” and do not conflict with the new treaty, international law, or decisions of the UN Security Council. Article 3 of the draft treaty says that the parties are entitled to request “information on any significant legislative, administrative or organizational measures” taken by another party if the measures “in the opinion of the Requesting Party, might affect its security.”
Using language that is somewhat similar to the NATO treaty’s, the proposed treaty says that a party would be “entitled to consider an armed attack against any other party an armed attack against itself,” although the parties are not obligated to respond to attacks on fellow members. The draft calls for the UN Security Council, in which
The treaty would be open for signature by states “from
Rasmussen said the OSCE was the most appropriate forum to discuss the draft treaty. In his statement at the OSCE meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the initiative was “designed to harness the potential of States and international organizations to create a truly indivisible space of equal security for all the States of the Euro-Atlantic region.”
Speaking at the OSCE meeting Dec. 1, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the Russian proposal omitted the issues of arms control, human rights, and the Georgian-Russian conflict. His comments were seconded by Ian Cliff Obe, head of the British delegation, who also stressed the need for “a resolution of the crisis” of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.
At the OSCE meeting, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze questioned “the need to redraft” European security “in accordance to the whims of one revisionist power.”
U.S. Department of State spokesman Ian Kelly said Dec. 1 that
The draft comes 18 months after Medvedev first raised the issue of European security at a June 2008 meeting in Berlin, saying “Europe’s problems won’t be solved until its unity is established, an organic wholeness of all its integral parts, including Russia.” NATO later suspended all joint activities with
Medvedev, Lavrov, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have continued to reiterate the need for a new security framework. In an April 20 speech at
According to the State Department’s Web site, that treaty “had a far-reaching effect on the Cold War and U.S.-Soviet relations.” The
Experts See Problems
In a Dec. 23 interview, Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former
Differences of opinion would arise not just between
Pifer suggested the West should consider how it could turn the Russian proposal to the advantage of Western interests. “If the West were clever, for example, it might tie its readiness to discuss the Russian proposal” to solving the impasse on the CFE Treaty or at least a restoration of the treaty’s transparency and confidence-building measures, Pifer added.
David J. Kramer, senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, described the Russian proposal as “anticlimactic” in a Dec. 17 interview. Kramer, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs and later assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, said the main problem with the Russian proposal was that
Gary J. Schmitt, a resident scholar and director of advanced strategic studies at the American Enterprise Institute and former staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a Dec. 16 e-mail that the draft treaty would have committed the United States and its allies to avoiding any new ties to states that Moscow considers to be in its sphere of influence. According to Schmitt, the proposal is “especially problematic in light of recent Russian behavior in occupied Georgia, in the recent military exercises aimed at Poland, in the new laws passed by the Duma authorizing military interventions to protect Russians and Russian-speaking peoples in surrounding states, and in the new authorities the Russian president is seeking enabling him to use the Russian military on his own authority.”
When Lavrov presented the draft treaty Dec. 4 at the NATO-Russia Council meeting in
The draft treaty was released as