Russia and the United States have embarked on their first joint inspection flight over Sweden as part of the 2002 Open Skies Treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
The Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 at the initiative of U.S. President George Bush, Sr., established a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities.
"On March 14-18, Russia and the United States will make a joint flight over Swedish territory onboard a Russian An-30B [Clank] aircraft and take some photos of the territory," the ministry said on its website, adding that cooperation under the Open Skies Treaty helped increase trust and security in the Euro-Atlantic region.
The flight completes a series of mutual aerial monitoring missions between Russia, the United States and Sweden. In 2008, Russia and Sweden made inspection flights over the United States, and Sweden and the United States monitored Russia in 2009.
The Open Skies Treaty 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.
MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti)