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On July 20, the Conference of the States Parties was held in video mode Open Skies Treaty (DON) to consider the consequences of the upcoming December 18 this year. Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty. The Russian interdepartmental delegation was headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation S.A. Ryabkov.

IN opening speech S.A. Ryabkov briefly outlined the reasons for Russia’s withdrawal from the Don. He noted that Russia, together with Belarus, made the greatest contribution to the implementation of the Treaty. We were always ready to discuss mutual concerns related to the implementation of the Treaty. Despite the non-observance of the OST by a number of participating states, they did not raise the issue of Russia’s withdrawal from it.

All the blame for the collapse of DON lies with the United States. Them exit from DON destroyed the balance of interests, rights and obligations of its participants. Washington, whose participation in the Treaty was a prerequisite for its operation, withdrew from the Don and closed its territory for observation flights, while urging its allies to create obstacles to Russian observation flights over American facilities and share with it data obtained during the Open Skies missions over Russia … We proposed a number of solutions to this problem, but our Western partners refused to take into account Russian interests.

And only after that a decision was made in Moscow on the launch of domestic procedures for leaving the Don, moreover, accompanied by a statement that in the event of a signal to revise the decision previously adopted by the Trump administration in favor of withdrawing from the Treaty, Russia would be ready to consider the new situation in a constructive spirit. Until recently, we continued to work with Washington and with the member states of the OST.

However, on May 27, the United States officially notified us of its final the decision not to return to the Agreement… As a result, we completed domestic procedures and on June 18 sent the required DON notifications on the decision to withdraw from the Treaty and from the group of member states, including Russia and Belarus.

Regarding the practical consequences of Russia’s withdrawal from the Don, S.A. Ryabkov noted that we are talking about revising the quotas for observation flights and the scale of distribution of expenses of the Open Skies Advisory Commission (UNSC), as well as transferring the functions of the chairman of one of its unofficial working groups. To resolve these issues, it was proposed to reactivate the negotiation mechanism created in connection with the withdrawal from the US Donor.

In a broader sense, it was emphasized that Russia intends until December 18 of this year. to fully enjoy the rights and fulfill the obligations of the State Party to the OST, of course, taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Russian position was supported by the Republic of Belarus, which, together with our country, belongs to the same group of states participating in the OST. The Belarusian side, noting the importance of the Treaty, expressed its intention to carefully analyze the development of the situation around it, taking into account the serious questions about its effectiveness and viability without the participation of two key states – the United States and Russia.

Other participants in the Conference also noted the important role of the Treaty for European security and expressed concern about its future fate.

At the same time, a number of participating states, primarily the closest allies of the United States, have structured their speeches according to the template of the statement adopted by the NATO Council on 18 June this year. in connection with our notification of the upcoming withdrawal of Russia from the Don. Their speeches contained regrets, accusations, reproaches and appeals to Russia.

This gave rise to the Russian delegation in closing remarks comment on some provisions of the NATO Council statement that have nothing to do with reality and, in fact, are disinformation with the aim of deliberately misleading other parties to the Treaty and the international community. In addition, the head of the Russian delegation to the Conference stressed that Washington, which considers the OST unnecessary, is not interested in the concerns of other participating States, including their own allies, regarding the loss of an important agreement on confidence-building. In this context, he recalled last year’s critical statements by the incumbent President Dzh.Biden regarding Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Don, noting that now completely different approaches prevailed in Washington.

Under these conditions, there will be no revision of the decision made by Russia, the train has left. If the western members of the Don were really interested in our country remaining in the Treaty, they would have acted differently.

In conclusion, S.A. Ryabkov said that Russia does not need DON more than other participating states. The expectation that our country will “bend” under pressure did not work before and will not work now. We will build a line with respect to the Treaty in the strictest accordance with the national interests of Russia and with the interests of our allies. If the DON is further terminated, the entire blame for such an outcome will fall on the United States and other NATO countries.

The conference was the last political frontier on Russia’s path to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty. The correctness of our decision regarding the inexpediency of further Russian participation in this Treaty was confirmed.

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

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