Russia wants troop limit in new NATO states: report

Russia wants to limit the number of NATO forces in the terrritory of Central European members.

From Reuters:   Russia is demanding that any new cooperation deal with NATO include limits on the number of troops posted in the alliance’s new member states in central Europe, a leading Russian daily reported on Wednesday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is to attend NATO’s annual summit next month in a bid to revive ties. Russia has said it wants assurances about a proposed U.S. missile shield in Europe, while NATO says it wants more cooperation on Afghanistan.

But Moscow also has demanded a ban on the deployment of "significant military forces" in the states that joined NATO since the end of the Cold War, the Kommersant daily reported, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

The demand was contained in a draft Russia-NATO cooperation agreement that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov handed to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in December, the report said. 

From RIA Novosti:  A source from NATO headquarters, who confirmed the existence of the treaty, said the main obstacle to its conclusion was that the term "substantive combat forces" has never been clearly defined.

While Russia considers the NATO forces deployed on a rotational base in Bulgaria and Romania substantial, for example, Washington does not.

Moscow’s proposed agreement seeks to create a legal definition of the term.

The treaty will be discussed during Rasmussen’s planned visit to Russia on November 5 after the NATO summit in Lisbon, the paper said.  (photo: PBS)

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