Russians push for European security treaty at Yaroslavl forum

Russian political leaders and experts on global security reiterated the calls on Friday to develop a new and improved treaty that will help all nations to establish security in the European region.

Though the discussion was more of a theoretical nature (which is justified at the summit that is more of an international think tank than an assembly of diplomats representing their nations), the speakers put forward several very practical and concrete demands that the new treaty must comply with. They said it should be based on modern realities, include all nations which coexist on the European continent and also that the treaty should regulate the activities of not only national governments and military forces, but also political organizations and even public movements.

Sergey Mironov, the chairman of the upper house of the Russian Parliament, said that all basic guidelines for the new treaty are ready and many of them are already working. The only thing Europeans need now is to give these relations and agreements a formal legal backing. At the same time, the Federation Council speaker stressed the role of parliamentary diplomacy in which he himself has extensive experience. Mironov stressed that the new treaty must give more power to national parliaments and even to political parties of various countries in running international politics and ensuring that the security system in Europe works properly.

Russian political scientist Sergey Rogov stressed that the new agreement must not deal with the agreements reached when the work on it, first started about 20 years ago. In case the treaty includes some weapons-reduction steps, they must start with current number of armaments, that is, significantly fewer.

Also, Rogov said that the new treaty must include all European countries, including those that are not members of existing political and military blocs. That would allow the avoidance of blind spots and ensure the nations share responsibility for continental security.

The Russian sociologist also touched upon such sensitive issues as missile defense and control over offensive weapons. He drew the attention of the delegates to the fact that at the same time as Russia and the US are destroying their medium-range missiles, other countries, such as India, Iran, Israel and a number of others are producing and perfecting such weapons, rendering the weapons-control agreements between leading nations useless.

The question of European security was also covered by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at his meeting with political scientists within the framework of the forum. Medvedev said that the attitude to the very idea of such a treaty has changed in the past two years and unfortunately not for the better. The main reason for such pessimism is the fact that most European nations are happy with the existing system, by which security is provided by OSCE, EU and NATO. However, the Russian president recalled the events of August 2008, when Georgia started a full-fledged war against a breakaway region in which Russia had to interfere while honoring its peacekeeping obligations.

In Dmitry Medvedev’s view, the South Ossetian conflict of 2008 shows the inability of all existing international bodies to handle a real crisis within European bodies. The conflict was solved only due to Russia’s position and the personal input of certain European leaders.

Finally, Dmitry Medvedev stressed the importance of regional security systems, in particular the European security treaty, and said that the work on it must go on, regardless of what he called “jealousy” on the part of the United States, which is still hampering the work on the treaty.

Kirill Bessonov, RT, Yaroslavl