11:12 GMT +312 November 2019
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    US Has No Reason to Withdraw From Open Skies Treaty - Russian Envoy in Vienna

    © AFP 2019 / Mladen Antonov
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    VIENNA (Sputnik) - The United States has no reason to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, Russia's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, stated in the wake of media reports about Washington's intention to leave the 1992 pact.

    According to Ulyanov, rumours about this intention of the US have recently intensified.

    "In general, this policy corresponds to our belief that the US has set a course for eliminating deals on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, take the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty [INF], for example. This policy is destructive and dangerous. There is no reason for withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty", Ulyanov said.

    The diplomat stressed that under the deal Russia and the US were holding observation flights over each other's territories on a strictly mutual basis, with Russia enjoying no unilateral advantage.

    Ulyanov emphasized that the deal served the interests of every signatory, including the US, voicing hope for its survival.

    "Let's see how it all ends. If the Open Skies Treaty ceases to exist, following the INF, this will be another heavy blow for arms control and trust measures in the Transatlantic region. We would like to hope this won't happen", Ulyanov added.

    Ulyanov refuted claims about Russia's alleged violations of the agreement as "absolutely groundless".

    The statement comes after reports about Trump allegedly signing a document signalling the US intention to withdraw from the treaty.

    The 1992 Open Skies Treaty allows signatories to carry out aerial surveillance through scheduled observation flights over each participating state. More than 30 countries are participating in the program, created to boost the transparency of military activities.

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    reports, withdrawal, pact, Open Skies Treaty, Russia, United States
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