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Question: The United States will leave the Treaty on November 22. Russia said that it was ready to stay in the Don under two conditions. First, if European countries give written guarantees that they will not transmit data from overflights to the United States. And second, if she is allowed to inspect American facilities in European countries. Do Russian representatives discuss these conditions with their colleagues in the OSCE? If so, how substantive is it? And does Moscow have a feeling that these requirements will be met?

K.Yu. Gavrilov: The Russian Federation regards the OON as an important legally binding agreement, a measure of strengthening confidence and security in relations between the participating States (PGs) in the Euro-Atlantic area. At the same time, in the current circumstances, we do not hide the fact that we need DON exactly as much as other GIs. As we have said many times, all the options for our further actions remain open. After the US withdraws from the Treaty, we will closely monitor the statements and actions of the OST partners, drawing conclusions based on them and making the necessary decisions.

At the site of the Open Skies Advisory Commission (UNSC), our principled position is well known that after the termination of participation in the Treaty, the United States will lose the right to acquire data obtained during observation flights (NP) from the GU. We have repeatedly stated in Vienna and in bilateral contacts with partners in European capitals that we will seek from them the strictest observance of the relevant treaty provisions. In the meantime, they have shown unwillingness to confirm their obligations under the OST additionally, on paper. This leads to serious speculation about their true intentions. We are absolutely not satisfied with this state of affairs. The conversation on this topic is not over.

Everything secret always becomes apparent. It is no secret that the United States is demanding that its allies sign documents according to which, after Washington leaves the legal field of the Don, they will transmit to the American side the information received as a result of the NP over Russia. They demand that they deny Russian Open Skies missions to carry out NP over American military installations in Europe. This is not just a violation of the OON, it is an unscrupulous game in the field of the Treaty, which has become another victim in Washington’s strategy of systematically disabling links in the international architecture of arms control and non-proliferation. All the mentioned actions of the USA will obviously not strengthen the viability of the Treaty.

During the 4th Conference on the Review of the Implementation of the OST, held in October, most of the States Parties recognized its importance and confirmed their interest in its preservation and further development. This gives hope that the spirit of cooperation will prevail and allow the Treaty to function in the new environment. For this, the European partners should be mindful of their interests. After all, Washington, when deciding to withdraw from the Don, did not take into account their interests.

Question: What awaits DON during the transit of power in the United States? Does Washington’s withdrawal from the Treaty on November 22 mean that after that it will not be able to renew its participation in it?

Konstantin Gavrilov: At the moment, no one has any doubts that on November 22, Washington will end its participation in the Treaty. The next day, the plenary meeting of the UNSC and its informal working groups will take place without the United States. The State Party’s withdrawal from the DON is an unprecedented step in the 20-year history of its implementation.

Of course, this decision will have tangible consequences for Washington. First of all, his image as a reliable partner will tarnish even more. The credibility of the leader in arms control in Europe will remain in the past. It will simply be impossible to take seriously the calls of the United States to expand transparency in the military sphere and to modernize the Vienna Document 2011 (VD), which, by the way, unlike the OON, does not extend to the territory of the United States. It turns out that from next week the American territory will be excluded from the European regimes of transparency in the military field. At the same time, they will not only continue to receive information on the results of inspections on internal affairs, but also, as it was noted, they will try to “squeeze” the results of the NP on OON from the allies. In our country, this is usually called the striving to “have everything, and nothing for it.” Frankly, nothing will come of it.

Of course, after the withdrawal of the State Party from the Treaty, a number of practical issues will have to be resolved. In particular, to clarify the scale of distribution of financial costs in connection with the activities of the UNSC, to appoint two chairmen of informal working groups instead of American representatives, to determine the status of the United States. We proceed from the assumption that they will not be able to claim the observer status with all its privileges. In short, a lot of work remains to be done. We hope that the full-scale interaction of GU DON on the entire range of issues on the UNSC agenda will continue without interruption.

Now about whether Washington will be able to renew its participation in the Treaty.

Initially, the American partners took a crafty position, artificially linking the withdrawal from the Don with “Russia’s return to the conscientious fulfillment of the Treaty,” they say, Washington may still “change their minds.” We have always said: if the United States considers it necessary to leave, that is their right. To return or not is also the choice of the new US administration. In principle, we do not exclude such a possibility – our American partners, as they say, have cards in their hands.

If Washington nevertheless “changes its mind” and decides to re-join the Don, then all procedures will be carried out on a general basis in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, with the consent and on the terms of all States Parties. One of these conditions, obviously, will be the unconditional acceptance and recognition of decisions made in the UNSC without the participation of the United States.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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