Strategic uncertainties in Eastern Europe. The Baltic States, NATO and the CFE Treaty

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In their quest of security guarantees, the three Baltic States have a lot of difficulties dealing with the CFE Treaty. In fact, in the rush of the events linked to their independence in 1991, they had preferred to withdraw of the CFE system, fearing that it perpetuates legally the soviet and Russian military presence in their territory. Traumatized by fifty years of annexation, the Baltic States have wished to join NATO. Nonetheless, the structure of the CFE treaty, composed in the time of the Cold War, is made in a way that it is impossible for NATO to widen to non-member states. A new CFE treaty, besides, has been taken up at the time of the OSCE summit in Istanbul in November 1999. It puts an end to any ambiguity in the former treaty mainly because it excludes all notions of alliance. Nevertheless, the Baltic States still consider that their commitments to join NATO and their membership to the CFE Treaty are closely connected. – Summary AFRI-2002