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Russian military to fly over U.S. under Open Skies treaty

RIA Novosti

13/11/2006 15:14 MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) - A plane with Russian military observers will make an inspection flight over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty, the Russian Air Force's spokesman said Monday.

"A Russian mission consisting of 30 people departed today on board a Tu-154 surveillance plane to fulfill an observation flight over U.S. territory," Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

The mission will return November 19 after flying some 5,000 kilometers (3,108 miles).

The U.S. mission made a similar inspection flight over Russian territory in October 2006.

The Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 on the initiative of U.S. President George H.W. Bush, established a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 26 member states to promote openness and transparency of military forces and activities.

It entered into force January 1, 2002 after all the member countries' parliaments ratified it. The regime covers the national territories (land, islands, and internal and territorial waters) of all the treaty signatory states. It is an important element of the European security structure.

The treaty now embraces 35 countries.

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