WASHINGTON, September 19. /TASS/. The United States will approve the certification of the new Russian Tu-214 surveillance aircraft in order to use it within the framework of the Treaty on Open Skies on September 24, a spokesperson for the US State Department told TASS.
"On September 18, the United States informed all States Parties via formal treaty mechanisms that it will approve the certification of the Russian aircraft," he noted.
The state department added that the certification would officially go through on Monday, September 24. "We plan to sign the Certification Report on the margins of a plenary meeting of the Open Skies Consultative Commission in Vienna on Monday, September 24," the spokesperson added.
Developed with Moscow’s active participation, the Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002. The treaty establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. 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 compliance with the existing or future arms control agreements, broaden possibilities for preventing crises and managing crisis situations within the scope of the Organizations for 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.
In practical terms, the treaty allows signatory states to perform observations flights over any part of the observed state party’s territory to monitor military activities in conformity with the agreed quotas of such missions. The treaty regulates observation flights procedures, establishes a mechanism of control over its observance, sets requirements to the aircraft and observation equipment.
Washington has been accusing Moscow for several years of violating several provisions of Open Skies Treaty. Russia also makes claims to the U.S. related to the implementation of the agreement. Last year, Washington announced the imposition of certain restrictions on Russian observation flights over the US territory within the Open Skies Treaty. Moscow soon came with tit-for-tat response.