File photo: CGTN
Washington (People’s Daily) - US State Secretary Mike Pompeo confirmed in a statement released on Thursday that the US will withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies.
In the statement, Pompeo said that on Friday, the US will submit notice of its decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies to the Treaty Depositaries and to all other States Parties to the Treaty.
“Effective six months from tomorrow, the United States will no longer be a party to the Treaty.” Pompeo continued, “We may, however, reconsider our withdrawal should Russia return to full compliance with the Treaty.”
Pompeo said, “It is no longer in America’s interest to remain a party to the Treaty on Open Skies.”
He claims that one reason for the withdrawal of the United States from the treaty is Russia “has flagrantly and continuously violated the Treaty in various ways for years.”
President Donald Trump's administration will give official notice of the US's intent to exit the Open Skies treaty, officials announced Thursday. The 34-nation agreement allows the US, Russia and other countries to fly their aircraft over each other's territory – increasing transparency and reducing the chances for perilous miscalculations.
NATO allies and other countries like Ukraine had pressed Washington not to leave the Open Skies Treaty, whose unarmed overflights are aimed at bolstering confidence and providing members forewarning of surprise military attacks.
Reuters commented that this is the Trump administration’s latest move to pull the country out of a major global treaty. Trump’s decision deepens doubts about whether Washington will seek to extend the 2010 New START accord.
According to the New York Times, US President Trump’s decision may be viewed as more evidence that he is preparing to exit the one major arms treaty remaining with Russia: New START, which limits the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed nuclear missiles each.
“There’s a chance we may make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together,” he said outside the White House. “I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to pull out and they’re going to come back and want to make a deal.”
That seems unlikely, even his own aides said. Yet at the same time, his newly appointed arms negotiator, Marshall Billingslea, said the administration planned to hold detailed conversations with the Russians over the future of New START.