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MOSCOW, July 28 (Itar-Tass) - A group of Russian inspectors will perform observation flights over the territory of the United States, head of the National Nuclear Risk Reduction Centre Sergei Ryzhkov told Itar-Tass.
“Within the framework of the implementation of the International Treaty on Open Skies it is planned that during the period from 28 July to 12 August, the Russian group of inspectors on the Tupolev Tu-154 LK-1 plane will perform two observation flights over the territory of the United States,” he said. “The flights will be performed from the Travis and Wright-Patterson airfields.”
“American experts on board the plane will oversee the procedure of the Russian inspectors’ use of the monitoring equipment and systems in accordance with existing agreements,” Ryzhkov said.
According to him, “In 2013, it will be the 23rd and the 24th observation flights carried out by representatives of the Russian Federation over the territories of the States Parties to the Treaty.”
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992. Its signatories are 34 states. Observation flights are performed over the territories of Russia, the United States, Canada and Europe. The main objectives of the open skies regime are the development of transparency, provision of assistance in monitoring the implementation of agreements in the sphere of arms control, the expansion of crisis prevention and crisis management possibilities within the framework of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations. The Open Skies regime covers the territory over which the State Party exercises sovereignty, including land, islands, and internal and territorial waters. The treaty specifies that the entire territory of a State Party is open to observation. Observation flights may only be restricted for reasons of flight safety; not for reasons of national security. In the future, it is planned to extend the open skies regime to new cooperation spheres, such as the environment protection.