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US, Swedish Inspectors to Fly over Russia, Belarus

RIA Novosti

02:33 29/10/2012 MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) - Inspectors from the United States and Sweden will conduct inspection flights over Russia and Belarus under the Open Skies Treaty starting on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

“In the period from October 29 to November 2 a joint group of US and Swedish inspectors will conduct surveillance flights on board a SAAB-340B Swedish surveillance aircraft over the territory of the treaty participants, namely the Russian Federation and Belarus,” a ministry spokesman said.

The flights will be executed along the route coordinated earlier with Russian and Belarusian specialists, who will be on board of the aircraft monitoring implementation of agreements on the use of technical equipment for the observation, he said.

He added that the US and Swedish mission will be conducting flights on board of the aircraft that is not intended to carry weapons and was certified by international experts and specialists.

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

The treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002 and its regime covers the national territories (land, islands, internal and territorial waters) of all 34 treaty signatory states. It is an important element of the European security structure.

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