Washington/Moscow – The Biden administration in the United States declared that it would not be participating in the Open Skies Treaty, having the participation of 34 countries including Russia. The Biden administration has said that the Russian stand in the Ukraine issue is responsible for this. The US department of state clarified that although the treaty has been scrapped, the meeting between the presidents of both countries will go ahead as per schedule. Meanwhile, western media are claiming that the decision of the Biden administration will have adverse effects on the participating European countries.
As per the information revealed by Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State, the decision of the Biden administration to not participate in the Open Skies Treaty has been conveyed to Russia. The US department of state accused that given the aggressive Russian military movements against Ukraine, Russia is not a fit partner that can be trusted.
The media questioned the state department whether the meeting scheduled to be held between Presidents of the two countries also stands cancelled? The state department clarified that the meeting would go ahead as planned. Russian foreign ministry lashed out at the announcement made by the US state department. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, criticised that the decision taken by the Biden administration just before the Geneva meeting is a political blunder.
Ryabkov warned ‘The Biden administration has taken one more decision threatening the security of the European countries. Russia had allowed the United States to correct its mistake. But the Biden administration has wasted this opportunity by levelling an arbitrary accusation against Russia.’ Whereas, Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary for the President of Russia, said that the Open Skies Treaty is meaningless if the United States and Russia are not a part of the treaty.
In 1992, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) members accepted the Open Skies Treaty during a meeting held in Helsinki. As per the agreement, with participation from Russia and the United States, the participating countries are permitted to survey sensitive installations in the other member countries. It has been accepted that surveillance aircraft and drones can be used for this purpose.
The agreement makes it binding to issue an alert 72 hours before and a notice, 24 hours in advance, before carrying out surveillance in another country. Western media are claiming that the importance of the agreement has ended with the withdrawal of the United States and Russia, the main countries of the treaty. There is a dense possibility of this having a direct effect on the security of the European countries.
Meanwhile, former US President Donald Trump announced withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty in November last year. At that time, Biden had criticised the decision taken by Trump. After taking over as President, Biden even started preparations for the new implementation of the treaty. But now, the Biden administration has shown that it is not interested in the Open Skies Treaty, citing the Russian stand on the Ukraine issue.