MOSCOW, October 15 (Itar-Tass) — Russian and French inspectors will perform observation flights under the Treaty on Open Skies, the press service of the Russian Defence Ministry told Itar-Tass on Monday.
“In the period from October 15 to 20 a team of French inspectors on the C-130H plane will perform an observation flight over the territory of the states - parties to the treaty - Russia and Belarus,” the RF Defence Ministry said. “The French observation plane belongs to the class of aircraft that are not designed to be equipped with any weapons. Technical equipment installed on it has passed all the necessary international certification with the participation of representatives of Russia.”
“During the flight on an agreed upon route the Russian and Belarusian specialists will carry onboard control over the use of equipment and monitoring systems in accordance with the treaty obligations,” the ministry emphasised.
In addition, it is planned that in the period from October 15 to 19, a group of Russian inspectors on the Antonov An-30B plane will perform an observation flight over the territory of Norway. “The flight will be performed from the Bardufoss airfield on an agreed upon route, the maximum rage of which will be 1,700 kilometres,” the RF Defence Ministry reported. “On board the plane Russian and Norwegian experts will control the order of the use of equipment and monitoring systems in accordance with the existing agreements.”
It will be the 32nd observation flight performed by representatives of Russia in 2012 over the territories of the states - parties to the Treaty on Open Skies.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992. Its signatories are 34 states. At present, the observation flights are performed over the territory of Russia, the United States, Canada and European countries. A total of more than 800 flights have been performed by the states since the moment the treaty came into force.
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 main objective of the ‘open skies’ regime is the development of openness and transparency, assistance to monitoring the implementation of existing or future agreements on arms control and enhancement of the crisis prevention and crisis management possibilities within the framework of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and other relevant international organisations. In the future, the possibility of expanding the ‘open skies’ regime to new spheres such as environmental protection is envisaged.