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May 23, 2020

NATO allies voice concern over US plan to quit Open Skies

World

May 23, 2020

BRUSSELS: European members of NATO told the United States on Friday they were uneasy about its plan to withdraw from the 35-nation Open Skies treaty that allows unarmed surveillance flights over member countries, an official of the defence alliance said, foreign media reported.

Senior officials in President Donald Trump’s administration, which says Russia has repeatedly violated the treaty’s terms, said on Thursday that Washington would formally pull out of Open Skies in six months.

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

Envoys to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), meeting in response to the US announcement, agreed “on the importance of arms control, and on the need to bring Russia back to compliance”, the NATO official said.