Russia ready to discuss technical issues under Open Skies Treaty with US, says Ambassador
- 05 June 2020
Russia has repeatedly expressed shown readiness to discuss technical issues with the United States under the Open Skies Treaty, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov wrote in his article for the National Interest magazine, APA reports quoting TASS.
"We have repeatedly shown with concrete figures that the claims that Russia is not fully implementing the agreement are baseless. At the same time, despite the absurdity of most accusations, we have always shown an openness to discussing issues that concern Washington, DC. There is the Open Skies Consultative Commission—mechanism established under the OST specifically for these purposes," Antonov wrote.
According to the ambassador, Russia also has a number of complaints about the United States’ non-compliance with the treaty’s provisions. In particular, they are related to safety of cabin crews during flights over the US territory, restrictions on the maximum distance of observation flights over the Hawaiian and Aleutian Islands, and flight altitude for observation aircraft.
"The difference is that we are ready—and we have repeatedly demonstrated it—to find mutually acceptable solutions to technical problems at the negotiating table. In contrast, Washington seems to deem it more important to get rid of an agreement that appears to believe is binding the United States’ hands and feet," he wrote.
US President Donald Trump announced on May 21 Washington’s intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows participants to fly over each other’s territories to monitor military activities. In a written statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clarified that the decision takes effect six months from May 22. The US cited alleged violations of the agreement by Russia as the reason for the withdrawal. Moscow rejected these allegations, stating that it remains committed to the treaty, and also brings counter charges.