Open sky Treaty: past and present

According to Tass News Agency Moscow on January 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russia is starting the process of withdrawing from the open sky treaty.

The whole story of signing

The open sky treaty gives the contracting parties the right to conduct aerial reconnaissance of military activities in each other’s territory. On July 21, 1955, US President Eisenhower proposed for the first time at the summit meeting of the four powers held in Vienna to exchange military intelligence and verify intelligence by aerial photography in each other’s airspace. Eisenhower believed that the idea could open a small door on the barriers to disarmament;. The relevant negotiations started in the late 1950s, but in May 1960, the U-2 reconnaissance plane was attacked in Soviet airspace. In the spring of 1989, US President George W. Bush proposed to the leadership of NATO and Warsaw Treaty Organization to discuss this issue again. In 1990, the first two rounds of negotiations were held in Ottawa and Budapest. In 1991 and 1992, negotiations continued in Vienna.

The treaty was signed in Vienna on March 21, 1992. After 20 ratifications, the treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002.

Main terms

The treaty makes detailed provisions on flight behavior, including the requirements for aircraft and surveillance equipment, and establishes rules for handling the information collected.

The flight route of the reconnaissance aircraft should be 10 kilometers away from the border of non agreement member states.

The treaty sets a certain number of flight quotas for each member state, including the active quota for reconnaissance of other states and the passive quota for reconnaissance of other states. The United States, Russia and Belarus have 42 quotas each year. Germany, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey and Ukraine had 12. Portugal has the least quota, twice a year.

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