MOSCOW, October 29 (Itar-Tass) — The inspectors of Sweden and the United States are to make observation flights over the territories of Russia and Belarus from October 29 to November 2 in implementation of the Treaty on Open Skies, an official at the Russian Defence Ministry press-service and information department told Itar-Tass.
The official pointed out that a group of inspectors would make flights aboar a Swedish SAAB-340B plane. "During a flight along an agreed route, Russian and Belarusian specialists in conjunction with their Swedish and US counterparts will monitor the use of observation instrumentation and systems in accordance with the the Treaty obligations," the Defence Ministry official said.
The SAAB-340B plane is a flying vehicle which is not designed to be fitted out with any armament. "The onboard technical means have passed the necessary internatitonal certification," the Minisry official said.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992. Thirty-four countries are parties to the Treaty. Observation flights are made over the territories of the United States, Canada, European countries, and Russia.
The main purposes of the open skies regime are to develop transparency, render assistance in monitoring compiance with the existing or future arms control agreements, broaden possibilities for preventing crises and managing crisis situations within the scope of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and other relevant international organizations. Subsequently, it is contemplated to apply the open skies regime to new fields, such as environmental protection, for example.