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US approach to Open Skies and New START endangers strategic stability

12 October 2020

After taking evidence from the former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, a former UK Secretary of State for Defence and leading experts on arms control on 2 October, the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee publishes a letter to the Government on the Open Skies Treaty and New START.


In a letter sent today to the Rt. Hon. James Cleverly MP, Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Committee sets out serious concerns about the impact of the US’s planned withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty next month, and the expiry of the New Start Treaty between the US and Russia in 2021.

The Committee urges the Government to make clear to the US Administration the value it would see in continued US participation in the Open Skies Treaty and the extension of the New START Treaty on nuclear arms reduction.

Chair's comments

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, Chair of the International Relations and Defence Committee said:

“Leaving the Open Skies Treaty will diminish the US’s influence while enhancing the position of Russia. As a state party to the Open Skies Treaty, the UK Government should make clear to the US the role of the treaty in maintaining strategic stability and building trust and confidence between all participants, and emphasise the importance that the UK attaches to the US’ continued participation in the treaty.

“The New START Treaty is the last remaining arms control treaty, and an important component of the global nuclear-non-proliferation regime. The UK Government should emphasise and advocate to the US Administration the importance of an extension of the treaty beyond 2021 for Euro-Atlantic security.”

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