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United States to withdraw from Open Skies accord in Trump's latest treaty pullout

United States to withdraw from Open Skies accord in Trump's latest treaty pullout”

President Donald Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the Open Skies Treaty, a key defense pact with Russian Federation created to improve transparency and confidence between the superpowers, the New York Times reported Thursday.

"Russia didn't adhere to the treaty".

"I think we have a very good relationship with Russian Federation. So until they adhere we will pull out", US President Donald Trump told reporters.

Trump's decision to abandon the Open Skies Treaty could indicate that he will allow the New START treaty to lapse.

The officials asked the U.S.to reconsider its exit.

It marks the latest effort by President Donald Trump's administration to withdraw the USA from a major global treaty. He has until February to extend it for up to five years.It is the last remaining restraint on deployments of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems to no more than 1,550 each. New START, the only remaining treaty constraining the USA and Russian nuclear arsenals, imposes limits on the number of US and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers.

Some 35 nations are party to the treaty, including Russia, Canada and the UK.

The New York Times said Mr Trump was also unhappy about a Russian flight over his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey three years ago.

It allows for unarmed short-notice reconnaissance flights by specially equipped aircraft over the entire territory of another country.

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Moscow rejected it but the treaty eventually came into force in 2002, and was signed by several dozen other countries. Thirty-four nation parties have signed on to the treaty since it was signed in 1992.

More than 1,500 observation flights have been conducted under the treaty.

"The United States made a decision to cut down one more multi-party treaty on arms control, this time, the one that was initiated by the United States itself", Ulyanov said. "I have a lot of concerns about the treaty as it stands now".

But senior USA officials said the country was withdrawing due to repeated Russian violations of its terms.

Last month, top Democrats on the foreign affairs and Armed Services committees in both the House and the Senate wrote to Trump accusing the president of "ramming" a withdrawal from the treaty as the world grapples with COVID-19.

Senior officials said the pullout will formally take place in six months, based on the treaty's withdrawal terms. And it may be in Russia's interest to remain in the treaty, exacerbating the unease of Washington's partners, while it continues its flights over their territory.

"It's a Republican legacy treaty", said former State Department official Alexandra Bell, now the senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Russian restrictions also make it hard to conduct observation in the Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland that is home to Russia's Baltic fleet, they said.

Russia uses illegal overflight restrictions along the Georgian border in support of its propaganda narrative that the Russian-occupied enclaves of Georgia are independent countries.



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