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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 3, 1993


The President has signed the United States instrument of ratification of the Treaty on Open Skies. This multilateral aerial observation regime represents the broadest and most flexible effort to date to promote openness and transparency of military forces and activities.

The Treaty responds to the new demands of the post-Cold War world and the desire of many states to find innovative means of strengthening confidence and predictability. It will give all participants an agreed way to obtain information about foreign military forces and activities of concern to them. Under the Treaty, each participating state may conduct a certain number of unarmed flights anywhere over the territory of the other participants, using approved observation techniques. The data collected during these flights will be available to all participants. This combination of breadth of coverage, flexibility of use and availability of information enables the Open Skies regime to make a unique contribution to building confidence and enhancing stability.

Present signatories include all NATO Allies, the East European members of the former Warsaw Pact, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. The states of the former Soviet Union and all CSCE states are eligible to join on an accelerated basis. The Treaty is open to any nation by consensus approval. The model developed in the Treaty could also be important to the reduction of local tensions and the prevention of conflict in regions beyond the scope of current signatories.

The Open Skies concept was first put forward by President Eisenhower in 1955, and then revived in a Treaty proposal by President Bush in 1989. It was signed on March 24, 1992 and received the unanimous advice and consent of the U.S. Senate on August 6, 1993. Ratification in several countries has been completed and in others is underway. The United States looks forward to ratification soon by all signatories and the Treaty's early entry into force.

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