European arms treaty meeting ends without agreement

No agreement was achieved during the special meeting called by Russia to review a European treaty that governs the use and deployment of military aircraft, tanks and other non-nuclear heavy weapons.

Organizers said participants failed to find common ground for a joint statement after meeting since Tuesday.

Signatories to the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty gathered in the Austrian capital after Moscow branded the accord "hopelessly outmoded" and called for the extraordinary session, which was chaired by Luxembourg.

The treaty was signed first in 1990 and amended in 1999 to reflect changes after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. Its goal has been to make significant cuts in the conventional military arsenals of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact states.

Russia has ratified the amended version, but the United States and other NATO members have refused to do so until Moscow withdraws troops from the former Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia - an issue Moscow says is unrelated.

Since the treaty entered into force, more than 60,000 battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters have been taken out of service across Europe.

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