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US, Italian inspectors to make surveillance flight over RF as part of Open Skies Treaty

March 11, 2014, 5:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 11, 5:39 /ITAR-TASS/. Group of U.S. and Italian inspectors is due to make a surveillance flight over the Russian territory Tuesday, Sergei Ryzhkov, the director of the National Center for the Reduction of Nuclear Threat told Itar-Tass.

“In the period of March 11 through to March 15, a joint U.S.-Italian mission will make a surveillance flight over the territory of the Russian Federation aboard a Boeing OC-135B observation jet,” he said.

During the flight, Russian experts who will accompany the group aboard the same jet will control strict compliance with all the parameters specified for these flights and the utilization of the equipment envisioned by the Treaty on Open Skies.

Boeing OC-135B is not equipped with whatever weaponry and the aerial photo cameras installed on it has passed an international expert study, in which Russia specialists took part, among others. The fact rules out a possibility of installing aboard any equipment not specified by the Treaty on Open Skies.

The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and it has 34 signatory nations. Surveillance flights are made over Russia, the U.S., Canada, and European countries.

The main objective of the Open Skies concept is to develop transparency, to assist compliance with arms control agreements, to expand opportunities for the prevention of crises, and to settle crisis situations in the format of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations.

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