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MFA statement on the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies

22.05.2020

Over the years, the Treaty on Open Skies has remained an important element of the European security architecture, meant to build trust and ensure transparency in relation to military activities. As of late, we have been facing a number of challenges regarding the implementation of the Treaty related to the Russian Federation’s restrictions to access its territory.

2018.08.03 Warszawa . Budynek MSZ , ilustracje .
Fot. Tymon Markowski / MSZ

We deeply regret that all the efforts undertaken by the Allied countries and close partners to encourage the Russian Federation to fully implement the Treaty have proved unsuccessful. An effective conventional arms control is only possible if parties strictly comply with their obligations regarding transparency and verification measures.

The United States of America has been keeping the Republic of Poland informed about the Treaty on Open Skies’ implementation review and its possible decision on withdrawal. We are currently taking actions together with our Allies and close partners to agree on joint solutions aimed at strengthening our security.

 

The Treaty on Open Skies was signed on March 24, 1992 in Helsinki, and entered into force in 2002. Thirty-four countries are parties to the agreement: these are mainly European countries, as well as Russia, the USA and Canada. The key element of the agreement is to increase, through aerial observation, openness and transparency of military activities undertaken by States Parties. Annual plans specify the number of observation flights that each country has the right to perform over the territory of other states or the obligation to host within its own territory. Since the entry into force of the Treaty, over 1,500 observation flights have been performed.

The withdrawal from the Treaty by a State Party becomes effective six months after the formal notification of the decision. Under the Treaty, its depositaries (Canada and Hungary) should convene a conference of States Parties 30 to 60 days after receipt of the notification.

 

MFA Press Office

Photo Tymon Markowski / MSZ