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Moscow won’t make unilateral concessions over Treaty on Open Skies - diplomat

As Anton Mazur pointed out, "the treaty is on the edge of collapse" due to the US decision to quit it

VIENNA, May 26. /TASS/. Moscow should not be expected to make any unilateral concessions over the Treaty on Open Skies, Anton Mazur, deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for nonproliferation and arms control, noted on Wednesday at the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation.

As Mazur pointed out, "the treaty is on the edge of collapse" due to the US decision to quit it as Washington’s participation was once a condition for it to enter into force. "It can still be salvaged but the time is quickly running out. Russia has repeatedly done, sometimes sacrificing its interests. There should not be any expectation that we will again make unilateral concessions. The ball is in Washington’s court today," Mazur said in a statement.

Russia’s lower house unilaterally passed the law to denounce the Treaty on Open Skies on May 19. The upper house is expected to hear this issue on June 2.

Washington pulled out of the Treaty on Open Skies last November, referring to Moscow’s alleged breaches of some clauses. In January the Russian Foreign Ministry announced the launch of internal state procedures for the pullout from the treaty. In recent weeks, Moscow has reiterated that the chance of preserving the agreement is minimal, and that the denunciation process will take several weeks and will most likely be completed as early as May.

The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in March 1992 in Helsinki by 27 member nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), known as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) before 1995. The main purposes of the open skies regime are to develop transparency, render assistance in monitoring compliance with the existing or future arms control agreements, broaden possibilities for preventing and managing crises. The treaty establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants.