NATO to discuss Open Skies treaty after US announces withdrawal

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America May 22, 2020, 04.34 PM(IST)

NATO Photograph:( Reuters )

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The United States on Thursday announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty allowing unarmed surveillance flights over member countries.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) envoys are set to discuss the future of the Open Skies treaty on Friday after the United States announced it would quit the 35-nation pact.

The United States on Thursday announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty allowing unarmed surveillance flights over member countries.

The administration said Russia has repeatedly violated the pact's terms. Senior officials said the pullout will formally take place in six months, based on the treaty's withdrawal terms.

Russia, to this end, said this would affect the interests of all of its participants, who are also members of NATO.

Also read | US pulls out of Open Skies treaty; Russia says it will affect all members

The Open Skies treaty, proposed by US President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955, was signed in 1992 and took effect in 2002. The idea is to let member nations make surveillance flights over each other's countries to build trust.

The US move deepens doubts about whether Washington will seek to extend the 2010 New START accord, which imposes the last remaining limits on U.S. and Russian deployments of strategic nuclear arms to no more than 1,550 each. It expires in February.

US allies in the NATO have pressed Washington to not leave the Open Skies pact, whose unarmed overflights are aimed at bolstering confidence and providing members forewarning of surprise military attacks.