MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) — A group of inspectors from Italy, Greece and Germany in the period from 5 to 9 September are conducting a join surveillance flight over the territory of the Russian Federation on the C-130H Hercules plane within the framework of the International Treaty on Open Skies, the press and information department of the RF Ministry of Defence reported.
The aircraft and equipment mounted on it have passed international certification with the participation of representatives of Russia, the department specified. The flight will be made on an agreed route. Russian specialists on board the plane will oversee compliance with the terms of the Treaty on the application of surveillance technology.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed by 27 states in 1992 and ratified by all parties in 1995. The main objective of the Open Skies regime is to develop openness and transparency, help monitor the implementation of existing or future agreements on arms control and to enhance crisis prevention and crisis management possibilities within the framework of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and in other relevant international organisations. In the future it is planned to extend the Open Skies regime to new spheres such as the environment protection.
The Treaty on Open Skies entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently has 34 States Parties. It establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them. Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging international efforts to date promoting openness and transparency of military forces and activities. The concept of “mutual aerial observation” was initially proposed to Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin at the Geneva Conference of 1955 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower; however, the Soviets promptly rejected the concept and it lay dormant for several years. The treaty was eventually signed as an initiative of US president (and former Director of Central Intelligence) George H. W. Bush in 1989. Negotiated by the then-members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the agreement was signed in Helsinki, Finland, on March 24, 1992.
This treaty is not related to civil-aviation open skies agreements.
The 34 State Parties to the Open Skies Treaty are: Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States. Kyrgyzstan has signed but not yet ratified. Canada and Hungary are the depositories of the treaty in recognition of their special contribution to the Open Skies process. “Depository” countries maintain treaty documents and provide administrative support.