AFP

US Russia NATO military treaty 22 May 2020 - 21:01

NATO presses Russia to respect 'Open Skies' treaty =(Video)= Brussels, May 22, 2020 (AFP) - NATO allies urged Russia on Friday to comply with the 1992 Open Skies treaty in the hope that Washington might reverse its a decision to ditch the defence agreement. Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the US decision to quit the agreement will not come into effect for six months, leaving Moscow time to change course. "All NATO allies are in full compliance with all provisions of the treaty," Stoltenberg said. "Russia has for many years imposed flight restrictions inconsistent with the treaty, including flight limitations, over Kaliningrad and restricting flights in Russia near its border with Georgia. "The United States has declared Russia in violation of the treaty and has now announced its intention to withdraw in six months consistent with treaty provisions. "The US has declared that it may however, reconsider its withdrawal should Russia return to full compliance. NATO allies are engaged with Russia to seek Russia's return to compliance at the earliest date possible." The Open Skies Treaty was agreed just after the Cold War to allow signatories to avoid nasty surprises or unfounded suspicions by monitoring rival militaries. It was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002, allowing 35 signatory countries, including the United States and Russia, to fly unarmed surveillance flights over each other's territory. Moscow and Washington have often accused each other of breaching its terms, and last year President Donald Trump suggested the United States might leave the treaty altogether. That threat now seems likely to come to fruition, despite the dismay of some of Washington's European allies, who remain attached to the treaty as a core element of their continent's security architecture. A senior US official leading a Treasury office tackling terrorist crimes and financial crimes, Marshall Billingslea, tweeted that the NATO meeting produced a "very positive discussion" and showed "transatlantic unity" on the issue of reducing nuclear weapons. Envoys also "shared detailed intel on both secretive Chinese buildup, and Russia," he said. csg-dc/rmb/pvh

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