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WASHINGTON: The United States has withdrawn from another international agreement.
The US formally announced to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies. Under the agreement, countries could observe each other’s forces. The US government notified the parties of its withdrawal.
Earlier on Sunday, a US Department of State spokesman said that six months had passed since the US in May had notified countries party to the agreement that it was withdrawing. As of Sunday, “The United States is no longer a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies,” the statement said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Twitter, said “America is more secure” because of the withdrawal while adding “Russia remains in non-compliance with its obligations”.
The US government has accused Russia of repeatedly violating the treating by blocking surveillance flights around certain areas, including the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and the border with Georgia, as well as denying flights over Russian military exercises.
Russia has denied the allegations in a statement stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Russia’s intelligence have been made more than once. Germany and Sweden have called on the United States to reconsider its decision. The United States notified Russia of its decision in May 2020.
The US government has said that if Russia does not meet the conditions set by the United States before 22nd November, the United States will withdraw from the agreement.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister said he is ready to continue talks under the framework of the Open Sky Treaty, but the terms offered by the United States are “absolutely unacceptable.”
Russia said that secession from the United States will not end the agreement. The withdrawal of the United States from the Open Sky Treaty is a step towards ending the global security system.
The Open Sky Agreement involves 34 countries and was signed 28 years ago. France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Sweden are also part of the treaty.