Last night, the Senate gave its unanimous advice and consent to the ratification of the Open Skies Treaty. The Administration applauds the Senate's decision on this important agreement.
The Treaty on Open Skies represents the broadest and most flexible effort to date to promote openness and transparency of military forces and activities. Present signatories include all NATO Allies, the East European members of the former Warsaw Pact, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan.
The Treaty on Open Skies will give all participants an agreed way to gather information about foreign military forces and activities of concern to them. Under the Treaty, each participating state may conduct a limited number of unarmed flights anywhere over the territory of the other participants, using approved photographic radar and infrared sensors to make and record observations. The information from all Open Skies observations will be made available to all participants. This innovative 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.
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 by twenty-five nations on March 24, 1992.
The United States looks forward to early ratification of the Treaty by all signatories and its early entry into force. The United States also welcomes the participation in the Treaty of additional states which want to further its goals of openness and transparency.