Trump Must Not Exit Open Skies Treaty Without Consulting Congress - Senior Democrats
Four leading Democratic lawmakers who sit on key national security committees urged the Trump administration not to pull the United States from the Open Skies treaty without consulting Congress amid reports the White House was about to abandon the multilateral pact
"We request that you not move forward with any action to withdraw or impair the United States as a party to the Treaty absent, at minimum, meaningful consultation with Congress. We look forward to your prompt response," Senators Bob Menendez and Jack Reed along with Congressmen Eliot Engel and Adam Smith said in a letter on Wednesday.
The treaty, which has 34 signatories, has been in force since January 2002 and allows unarmed surveillance flights over US, Russian and other territory. The CNN television news network reported that the Trump administration was expected to soon announce its plans to exit from the pact.
"Not only is there no case for withdrawal on the grounds of national security, there has been no consultation with the Congress or with our allies about this consequential decision. Any action by this administration to withdraw from critical international treaties without the approval of the Senate is deeply concerning," the Democrats wrote.
The Democrats described the treaty as a critical element of US and European security and that exiting it "would be another blow to regional stability as well as Ukrainian security."
The Russian embassy in the United States said via Twitter that it viewed the treaty as an important instrument in ensuring European security on the same level as the 2011 Vienna document on security-building measures.