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US hushes up its problems with observation of Open Skies Treaty — Russian foreign ministry

April 25, 0:32 UTC+3

Developed with Moscow’s active participation, the Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002

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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, April 25. /TASS/. The United States has problems with the observation of the Open Skies Treaty but these problems are being hushed up, he Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday after the publication of the US Department of State’s 2017 Compliance Report.

"The US side keeps on repeating a set of cliched accusations that Russia allegedly violates the Open Skies Treaty," the ministry said. "Regrettably, the report of the Department of State hushes up problems with the observation of this treaty by the United States itself."

Developed with Moscow’s active participation, the Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002. It currently has 34 member states. 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.

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