Moscow, Nov 23 (IANS) The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that Moscow will seek firm guarantees that the remaining parties of the Treaty on Open Skies fulfil their obligations, amid the US’ withdrawal from the agreement.
“After withdrawing from the Treaty on Open Skies, the US side expects that its allies, on the one hand, will hinder Russian observation flights above US military facilities in Europe, and, on the other hand, share with Washington their photographic materials of Russian territory,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying in a statement on Sunday.
“Of course, this is unacceptable for Russia,” it added.
“We will seek firm guarantees that the states remaining in the Treaty on Open Skies will fulfil their obligations, firstly, on ensuring the possibility of observing their entire territory and, secondly, on ensuring that the materials of observation flights will not be transferred to third countries that are not participants of the treaty,” the statement further said.
If other participants really want the treaty to continue to operate, and Russia remains a member state of the treaty, then they should, without delay, seriously think about what should be done to allay Russian concerns, the Ministry added.
The treaty, which became effective in 2002, allows its states-parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others’ entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.
It is aimed at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the overflights.
Currently, 35 nations, including Russia and some other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have signed it.