Statement on the Norwegian suspension of the CFE treaty

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Joint Consultative Group, Vienna, 27 November 2023.

Madam Chairperson, Dear Colleagues

The Permanent Delegation of Norway would thank the Türkiye-chair of the JCG for holding this meeting and use this opportunity to officially announce that Norway suspends its participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe towards all States Parties.

Madam Chair,

The Norwegian suspension builds on the following reasons:

On 9 June 2023, the Russian Federation notified its withdrawal from the CFE Treaty with effect from 7 November 2023. As other States Parties, Norway regrets the Russian Federation’s withdrawal from the Treaty. The object and purpose of the CFE Treaty is to establish stability and security in Europe through reciprocal arms limitations and mechanisms to ensure transparency and to control that those limits are complied with. The essential aim has been to eliminate the ability to launch surprise attacks and to initiate large-scale offensive action in Europe.

The Russian Federation’s withdrawal marks a fundamental change to the circumstances that existed at the time of the conclusion of the CFE Treaty, and which constituted the essential reason for Norway and other States Parties to consent to the Treaty. The Russian Federation’s withdrawal hinders the fulfillment of the CFE Treaty’s object and purpose and has radically transformed the extent of the State Parties’ obligations.

Norway also condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine which is contrary to the Treaty's objectives. Russia's withdrawal from the CFE treaty is the latest in a series of actions that systematically undermines Euro-Atlantic security and the rules based international order.

While recognizing the role of the CFE as a cornerstone of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture, a situation whereby Norway abides the Treaty and while Russia does not, would be unsustainable.

Dear Colleagues,

Norway remains committed to the principles of the CFE Treaty of effective conventional arms control as a key element of Euro-Atlantic security. For this reason, Norway has decided to suspend its participation in the CFE Treaty to allow for the possible return to the Treaty later should the circumstances change. In the meantime, we will suspend all limitations in the treaty.

Norway’s suspension of the CFE Treaty will come into effect on the 21st of February 2024, 90 days after our Note Verbale on the suspension was delivered to the depositary, The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Madam Chair,

Please attach this statement to the journal of this meeting.

Thank you!