EU President Wants Dialogue on Arms Treaty

VIENNA, Austria -- The Slovenian presidency of the European Union on Thursday urged Russia to continue with "effective dialogue" on a key European arms-control treaty that limits the deployment of tanks, aircraft and other heavy weapons across the continent.

In December, Russia formally suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, saying a failure by NATO nations to ratify an updated version undermines its security.

The 1990 treaty set limits on the deployment of heavy conventional weapons by NATO and Warsaw Pact countries to ease tensions along the border between the old Eastern bloc and Western Europe. It was amended in 1999 to reflect changes after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

Russia has ratified the updated version, but the United States and other NATO members have refused to follow suit, saying Moscow first must fulfill obligations to withdraw forces from Georgia and from Moldova's separatist region of Transdnestr.

"We urge the Russian Federation, our Russian friends, to continue with effective dialogue in pursuit of an acceptable solution to the outstanding issues ... that are of concern to all state parties" to the treaty, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel said in a speech to the Permanent Council of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.