‘Yet Another Nail in the Coffin of Arms Control’: US Exit From Open Skies Treaty Irks NATO Allies, Casts Doubt on New START

The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 and entered into force 10 years later. The agreement allows all 34 countries that have ratified the treaty to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over one another.

On Thursday, Trump stated that the US will pull out from the treaty due to alleged violations of the agreement by Russia. One day later, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow had received official notice from Washington of the decision.

Russia has denied the US accusations and said it intended to further fully comply with all the provisions of the Open Skies Treaty as long as it is in force, and expected other signatories of the deal to respect it as well.

Trump’s decision has also been slammed at home. It was criticised by Congressman Alcee Hastings, the chairman of the US government’s Helsinki Commission, and lawmakers in Washington have even introduced a bill that would prevent any president from withdrawing the US from international treaties without congressional approval.

As a result of the Trump administration’s decision, the US is set to leave the agreement within six months.

Ensuring Open Skies Valuable for Arms Control

Trump’s decision to tear up one of the most important treaties for guaranteeing arms control will come as a surprise to many, Professor Ramesh Thakur, director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament in the Crawford School at the Australian National University and co-convenor of the Asia-Pacific…

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