The Open Skies Regulation covers the territory over which the Parties exercise sovereignty, including the mainland, islands and internal and territorial waters. The Treaty provides that the entire territory of a Member State is open to observation. Observation flights may only be restricted for reasons of aviation safety and not for reasons of national security. [2] The Open Skies Treaty entered into force on 1 January 2002 and currently has 34 States Parties. It establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. The Treaty aims to strengthen mutual understanding and trust by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information about the armed forces and activities affecting them. The idea of allowing countries to monitor each other openly aims to avoid misunderstandings (e.B. reassure a potential adversary that his own country will not go to war) and limit the escalation of tensions. It also provides for the mutual responsibility of countries to keep the promises of the treaty.

Open Skies is one of the most comprehensive international efforts to date to promote openness and transparency in military forces and activities. Open Skies aircraft can be equipped with video, optical panoramic and framing cameras for daylight photography, infrared line scanners for day/night capability and synthetic aperture radar for day/night capability in all weathers. The quality of the photographic image allows the recognition of important military equipment (e.B. allows a Member State to distinguish between a tank and a truck), which allows significant transparency of the armed forces and activities. Sensor categories may be added and capacities improved by agreement between Member States. All sensors used in Open Skies must be commercially available to all signatories. [2] Image resolution is limited to 30 centimeters. [8] [Citation needed] The Open Skies Treaty is of unlimited duration and is open to accession by other states. The republics of the former Soviet Union (USSR), which have not yet become Contracting States, may accede to it at any time. Applications from other interested countries are subject to a consensus decision by the Open Skies Advisory Commission (OSCC).

[2] Eight countries have acceded to the treaty since its entry into force in 2002: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Sweden. In particular, Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Switzerland, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Armenia and Uzbekistan are absent. The Republic of Cyprus submitted its application for accession to the Treaty in 2002; Since then, however, Turkey has blocked its membership. [Citation needed] This treaty is not linked to the Open Skies Convention on Civil Aviation. [4] The concept of «mutual aerial observation» was initially proposed to Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Bulganin at the 1955 Geneva Conference by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower; However, the Soviets immediately rejected the concept and it rested for several years. The treaty was eventually signed at the initiative of US President (and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency) George H. W.

Bush in 1989. The agreement negotiated by the then members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact was signed in Helsinki, Finland, on 24 March 1992. [2] The United States officially withdrew on November 22, 2020. [3] Thirty-four years later, the Open Skies concept was reintroduced by US President George H. W. Bush as a means of building trust and security between all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries and Warsaw Pact countries. In February 1990, an international Open Skies Conference was opened in Ottawa, Canada, with the participation of all NATO and Warsaw Pact countries. Other rounds of negotiations were held in Budapest, Hungary; Vienna, Austria; and Helsinki, Finland. [10] Since 2002, a total of 40 missions have taken place across the UK.

There were 24 quota missions carried out by: Russia – 20; Ukraine – three; and Sweden – one. There were 16 training flights operated by: Benelux (with Estonia); Estonia (with Benelux); Georgia – three (one spouse with Sweden); Sweden – three (one spouse with Georgia); United States – three; Latvia; Lithuania; Romania; Slovenia; and Yugoslavia. [12] Also since 2002, the United Kingdom. conducted a total of 51 Open Skies missions – 38 were quota missions in Ukraine (five); Georgia (seven) and Russia (26); 13 missions were training missions to the following countries: Bulgaria; Yugoslavia; Estonia; Slovenia (three); Sweden (three); United States; Latvia, Lithuania and Benelux. Flights cost around £50,000 per operational mission and around £25,000 for training missions with approximate annual costs of £175,000. [13] Moscow, AP. After the United States, Russia also withdrew from the Free Sky agreement. The planes of the countries participating in this agreement flew over the military complexes of other countries and carried out reconnaissance of military activities there, but after the United States, this will no longer be possible in Russia. Observation aircraft may be provided either by the observing party or by the observed party (the «taxi option») after its selection. All Open Skies aircraft and sensors must meet certain certification and pre-flight inspection procedures to ensure they meet contractual standards. The Open Skies Advisory Commission is the implementing body for the Open Skies contract. [5] It is composed of representatives of all States Parties and meets monthly at the headquarters of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna.

The Open Skies Agreement (OST) covers more than 30 countries and allows partner countries to fly unarmed reconnaissance aircraft over any part of the other countries included in the agreement. After the United States, Russia withdrew from the agreement: planes from the countries participating in the agreement flew over the military complexes of other countries Images collected during the Open Skies missions are available to any State Party upon request for the cost of reproduction. .

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