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US to withdraw from Open Skies accord in Trump’s latest treaty pullout

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Issued on: 21/05/2020 – 20:16Modified: 21/05/2020 – 20:56

The United States announced its intention on Thursday to withdraw from the 35-nation Open Skies treaty allowing unarmed surveillance flights over member countries, the Trump administrations latest move to pull the country out of a major global treaty.

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The administration said Russia has repeatedly violated the pacts terms. Senior officials said the pullout will formally take place in six months, based on the treatys withdrawal terms.

“I think we have a very good relationship with Russia. But Russia didnt adhere to the treaty. So until they adhere we will pull out,” US President Donald Trump told reporters.

He said there was a “very good chance well make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together.”

NATO allies and other countries such as Ukraine have pressed Washington to remain in the treaty, and Trumps decision could aggravate tensions within the alliance.

The administration also pulled the United States out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia last year.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to a small group of reporters, said the decision followed a six-month review that found multiple instances of Russian refusal to comply with the treaty.

“During the course of this review it has become abundantly clear that it is no longer in Americas interests to remain a party to the Open Skies treaty,” said one of the officials.

One administration official said extensive discussions were held with US allies leading up to the decision but ultimately Washington decided “it is no longer in our interest” to participate in it.

At the same time, the official said US officials had begun talks in recent days with Russian officials about a new round of nuclear arms negotiations to “begin crafting the next generation of nuclear arms control measures.”

“The United States is committed to arms control. We are committed to European security. And we are committed to a future that puts meaningful constraints on nuclear weapons,” the official said.

The Open Skies treaty, proposed by US President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955, was signed in 1992 and took effect in 2002. The idea is to let member nations make surveillance flights over each others countries to build trust.

US to announce its intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty – another great moment in arms control history if and when it happens!

— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) May 21, 2020

The officials cited a years-long effort by Russia to violate the terms, such as by restricting US overflights Read More – Source