WORLD US not to rejoin Open Skies Treaty: State Department

WORLD

US not to rejoin Open Skies Treaty: State Department

Xinhua

06:36, May 28, 2021

WASHINGTON, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Thursday that it decided not to rejoin the Open Skies Treaty, a multilateral arms control agreement abandoned by the previous administration last year.

File photo: Agencies

"The United States regrets that the Treaty on Open Skies has been undermined by Russia's violations. In concluding its review of the treaty, the United States therefore does not intend to seek to rejoin it, given Russia's failure to take any actions to return to compliance," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

"Further, Russia's behavior, including its recent actions with respect to Ukraine, is not that of a partner committed to confidence-building," the statement added.

The multilateral Treaty on Open Skies, which became effective in 2002, allows states parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others' entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities as a way to build confidence and familiarity.

Accusing Russia's violation, the Donald Trump administration announced the decision to withdraw from the pact in May of last year. Moscow denied the allegation.

After the US formal withdrawal in November 2020, the Russian Foreign Ministry said this January that the country had started domestic legal procedures for the official pullout from the treaty. Last week, the Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, unanimously approved a bill on the country's withdrawal from the treaty.

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