US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that he plans to withdraw the US from the Open Skies Treaty with Russia, the third arms control pact that Trump has abrogated since taking office.
Trump said that Moscow had not stuck to its commitments under the 18-year-old pact, which was designed to improve military transparency and confidence between the superpowers.
“Russia did not adhere to the treaty,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “So until they adhere, we will pull out.”
Moscow quickly countered that the pullout would damage European security and harm the interests of US allies.
Ambassadors to NATO, whose members are also party to the treaty, yesterday called an urgent meeting to assess the consequences of the move, which could affect European security.
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas urged Washington to reconsider, saying that Germany, France, Poland and Britain had repeatedly explained to the US that the problems with Russia in recent years “did not justify” pulling out.
The treaty “contributes to security and peace in almost the entire northern hemisphere,” Maas said. “We will continue implementing the treaty and do everything to preserve it.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Trump would formally notify the parties to the treaty yesterday of the US’ plans to withdraw, starting a six-month countdown to pullout.
“Effective six months from tomorrow, the United States will no longer be a party to the Treaty,” Pompeo said in a statement. “We may, however, reconsider our withdrawal should Russia return to full compliance with the treaty.”
The Open Skies agreement permits each signatory country’s military to conduct a certain number of surveillance flights over another member country each year on short notice.
The aircraft can survey the territory below, collecting information and pictures of military installations and activities.
Including Russia and the US, the treaty has 35 signatories, athough one, Kyrgyzstan, has not yet ratified it.
The idea is that the more rival militaries know about each other, the smaller the chance of conflict, but the flights are also used to examine vulnerabilities of the other side.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said that Russia “flagrantly, continuously violates its obligations” under the pact.
Moscow “implements the treaty in ways that contribute to military threats against the United States and our allies and partners,” he said.
He cited Russia’s refusal to allow flights over areas where Washington believes Moscow is deploying medium-range nuclear weapons that threaten Europe, including the Baltic Sea city of Kaliningrad and near the Russia-Georgia border.
Last year, Moscow also blocked flights meant to survey Russian military exercises, normally allowed under the pact.
The New York Times said Trump was also unhappy about a Russian flight over his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, three years ago.
“In this era of great power competition, we are looking to advocate for agreements that benefit all sides, and that include partners who comply responsibly with their obligations,” Hoffman said.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic