Canada and Hungary, as the two Depositaries of the Treaty on Open Skies, signed in Helsinki on 24 March 1992, have convened a Conference of States Parties in accordance with Article XV Paragraph 3 of the Treaty. The organization of this Conference became necessary following the receipt of the notification of intent to withdraw from the Treaty by the Russian Federation on 18 June 2021.
Due to the restrictions introduced to mitigate the COVID-19 situation worldwide, the Conference was organized as a video-teleconference. The online event brought together 183 representatives and experts of the 33 States Parties from the different ministries of foreign affairs, ministries of defence, arms control organizations and Vienna-based delegations.
As stipulated by the Treaty, the Conference was intended to provide States Parties with the opportunity to share views on the effect of the withdrawal of the Russian Federation on the Treaty. The Delegations discussed, inter alia, the overall impact on operational functionality of the Treaty, the impact on the allocation of observation quotas and on financial arrangements within the Treaty, and other potential effects on the Treaty.
The discussion was extensive with 28 States Parties to the Treaty offering a broad range of views on several key topics pertaining to the effect of the decision by the Russian Federation to withdraw from the Treaty.