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

RIA Novosti

28/05/2007 19:46 MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) - A plane carrying Russian military observers will make a series of inspection flights over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty May 28-June 2, the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday.

"A Russian mission on board a Tu-154M surveillance plane will fly about 4,250 kilometers (2,700 miles) via a designated route over U.S. territory to monitor the observance of the provisions under the [Open Skies] treaty," the ministry said in a statement.

The Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 at 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 the 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.

A U.S. mission conducted similar inspection flights over Russian territory May 14-19 of this year on board an OC-135B surveillance plane.

The Open Skies Treaty currently comprises 35 signatory nations.

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