The United States will exit the Open Skies treaty, which serves to ensure transparency on aerial intelligence observation


US President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United States will exit the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement that entered into force in 2002 to which 34 countries adhere, and which serves to ensure transparency on intelligence observation flights. Trump said the decision was made due to Russia’s repeated violations of the treaty, and that formal notification will be sent out tomorrow.

Six months have passed since then before the official withdrawal from the agreement, during which – said Trump – the decision can be reviewed if Russia proves to join the agreements. “There is a good chance that we will reach a new agreement,” said Trump. It is the third major international control agreement on military operations from which the United States withdraws under the Trump administration, after that on Iranian nuclear power and the INF treaty on medium-range nuclear missiles. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the US decision “very unpleasant”.

The Open Skies Treaty is an instrument introduced to allow a number of unarmed flights with which member countries can collect mutual strategic information, for example on deployments of troops and military structures, conducted even on short notice. It includes, among others, Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. The main purpose is to allow these aerial surveys to some extent by increasing transparency and mutual trust between member countries and thus avoiding potential conflicts.

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