Bulgaria suspends participation in Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe

Bulgaria’s government has adopted a decision to suspend the country’s participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on November 7.

The announcement came a few hours after Russia finalised its withdrawal from the CFE, in a move that was condemned by Nato.

The CFE, signed in 1990 and in force since 1992, established a balance in five categories of conventional armaments (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery systems, combat aircraft and attack helicopters) between Nato and the then Warsaw Pact.

The treaty led to a substantial reduction in the total amount of armaments in Europe after the end of the Cold War and for several decades was of key importance to the security architecture of the European continent, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said.

In 2007, Russia announced a moratorium on the implementation of the CFE Treaty.

After four years of diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement with the Russian side on the future of conventional arms control, in 2011 Bulgaria, together with other Nato member states, decided to take reciprocal action by partially suspending the fulfillment of its obligations under the verification mechanism of the Treaty vis-à-vis Russia, the Foreign Ministry said.

With the war that began against Ukraine in 2022, Russia violated fundamental principles of the CFE Treaty such as the abstention from military aggression and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the parties, thereby significantly changing the context of the implementation of the Treaty, the ministry said.

After denouncing a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements in the field of disarmament and arms control, for which it systematically shifted the blame to Nato member states, on June 9 2023, Russia officially notified its withdrawal from the CFE as well.

“This act violated an essential condition for the further implementation of the Treaty as a strategic binding document, reducing the possibility of large-scale military conflict,” the Foreign Ministry said.

With the thus created objective impossibility of achieving the goals of the Treaty, at its meeting the Cabinet decided to suspend its effect for the Republic of Bulgaria.

“At the same time, the Bulgarian side remains committed to military transparency and confidence-building in the field of conventional weapons, and will consider the possibilities of implementing voluntary measures contributing to increasing predictability and stability in Europe,” the statement said.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

Please support The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism by becoming a subscriber to our page on Patreon:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292