27 October 2021,   17:38
Russian Foreign Ministry accuses Georgia of violating Open Skies agreement

Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement about the Open Skies Treaty with the United States.

In the text of the statement Georgia is also mentioned.

“Meanwhile, the entire territory of Georgia is inaccessible to Russian Open Skies missions as well as multi-state missions with Russia’s participation. Thus, Georgia is violating the key provisions of the Treaty on Open Skies (Paragraph 1 of Article I and Paragraph 2, Section I of Article III), which say that the Treaty is designed for the conduct of observation flights by States Parties over the territories of other States Parties, and that each State Party shall be obliged to accept observation flights over its territory. However, it appears that gross violation never bothered the US or other advocates of “faultless compliance” with the treaty even when no observation flight could be conducted under the Opens Skies Treaty in 2018 due to Georgia’s destructive policy. Obviously, regardless of their thunderous declaration on the treaty’s value for security architecture in the region from Vancouver to Vladivostok, they are ready to sacrifice this agreement for the sake of stepping up Tbilisi’s political ambitions and push it towards a confrontation with Russia.

To maintain the treaty and overcome the deadlock, we cancelled bans on flights in the 10-kilometre zones along Russia’s border in the Caucasus. Yet we reserved the right to revisit the issue in the future and warned that observation flights in the above zones would become permanent only if Georgia fulfilled its obligations on accepting Russian missions in good faith. This is an irrefutable part of Russia’s statement.

Unfortunately, Tbilisi’s disruptive policy remains unchanged at this point. As a result, Russia was forced to deny an observation flight within 10-kilometre zones during a joint mission of Sweden, Germany and the US over our territory in April 2019.

The resumption of observation flights under the Treaty on Open Skies in 2019 after a year of suspension caused by Georgia’s disruptive stance, was made possible entirely owing to Russia’s responsible approach. We did not ask for a quota for flights over Georgia even though we had every right to do so.

Russia is ready to allow observation missions to these areas on condition that Georgia gives up its current position, which is incompatible with the key provisions of the treaty, and allows Russian flights over its territory. Actually, a variant of a “technical” resolution regarding allowing observation flights without damaging political views of the parties on the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was considered possible in 2018 in the US Department of State report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments. Regretfully, Washington prefers to forget this.

We call on our partners not to politicise the treaty and to contribute to the search for a solution to existing problems”, - reads the statement.