US President Barack Obama should announce in Tallinn that the 1997 cooperation agreement between Russia and NATO is no longer in force, said Matthew Bryza, a former US diplomat and current head of the International Center for Defense Studies in Tallinn.
“Russia ended the validity of the Budapest Memorandum, which guarantees the territorial integrity of Ukraine, with its actions. Why should we keep promises told to Russia in 1997, which were said at a different time?” Bryza told Eesti Päevaleht in an interview today.
Bryza said large military bases in the Baltics will not appear soon, but Obama could at least propose moves toward permanent bases.
Speaking about the symbolism of Obama's visit to Estonia, Bryza said Obama has come under fire for his foreign policy, and the lack of effort and he is showing his nation that he cares about foreign policy, which is a major topic in the next presidential race, but the trip is aimed as a clear message to Moscow.
The Budapest Memorandum was signed in 1994 by Russia, the US and the United Kingdom to provide an incentive to Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine found itself with the world's third-largest nuclear weapons stockpile. The basis of the agreement was that the three agreed to provide security assurances by its signatories relating to Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The 1997 NATO Founding Act an agreement with Russia on arrangements to deepen and widen the scope of NATO-Russian relations, primarily to offset the largely negative impact on those relations caused by NATO's decision to enlarge. The Act also contains a qualified pledge by NATO not to deploy nuclear weapons or station troops in the new member states, and refines the basic "scope and parameters" for an adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.