10 European naitons regret U.S. pulling out Open Skies Treaty

Ten European nations on Friday issued a joint statement regretting the United States’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty, which they consider “a crucial element of the confidence-building framework that has been created over the past decades to increase transparency and security across the Euro-Atlantic area.”

“We regret the announcement by the government of the United States of its intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, although we share its concerns regarding the implementation of treaty provisions by Russia,” said the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Sweden in the statement.

“We will continue to implement the Open Skies Treaty which has obvious added value for our conventional arms control architecture and our common security,” said the statement.

“We reaffirm that this treaty remains functional and useful. The withdrawal becomes effective after a period of six months,” it added.

“On matters relating to the implementation of the treaty, we will continue dialogues with Russia as previously agreed between NATO allies and other European partners in order to resolve outstanding issues such as undue restrictions imposed on flights over Kaliningrad,” it said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday the United States is withdrawing from the Treaty on Open Skies, the latest move to abandon a major international arms control agreement.