US announces withdrawal from open skies treaty
US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The United States announced on Thursday that it would withdraw from the “Open Skies” treaty, which authorizes peaceful aerial surveillance of the participating countries, accusing Russia of repeated breaches of the terms of the agreement.
“I think we have a very good relationship with Russia. But Russia has not respected this treaty. So until it does, we will withdraw,” Donald Trump told reporters.
The President said that there was “a very good chance” of concluding a new arrangement or implementing initiatives that would revive the agreement.
The withdrawal will be official in six months in accordance with the provisions of the treaty, said officials of the American administration.
Donald Trump has already withdrawn the United States from several major international treaties or agreements, be it the Paris Climate Agreement, the Iranian Nuclear Agreement or the Treaty on Nuclear Forces Within Reach intermediate (FNI).
In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, quoted by the RIA news agency, refuted the American claims and said that nothing prevented further discussions on technical issues that Washington, t he says, calls violations.
Thirty-five states are party to the Open Skies treaty signed in 1992 and whose entry into force in 2002, concretized a project proposed almost half a century earlier by the American president Dwight Eisenhower with the idea of fostering trust between countries by authorizing unarmed mutual observation flights.
Several allies of the United States within NATO and still others like Ukraine have urged Washington not to withdraw.
The decision released on Thursday follows a six-month review of the situation which, according to Trump administration officials speaking on condition of anonymity, has uncovered multiple refusals by Russia to comply with the treaty.
“During this review, it became very clear that it was no longer in the interest of the United States to remain a party to the Open Skies Treaty,” one of the officials told a small group of journalists.
The American administration evokes in particular restrictions of overflight by American planes of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad or Georgia, neighbor state of Russia.
In addition, these sources continue, Russia has used its own overflights of American or European territories to identify crucial American infrastructures which could, in the event of war, become targets.
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