U.S. softens sanctions on Rosoboronexport to buy digital cameras

December 15, 2016 TASS
The Russian-made equipment may improve Washington’s ability to monitor Moscow’s compliance with the Open Skies Treaty.
Rosoboronexport
The Rosoboronexport stand at the Dubai Airshow 2015. Source: Evgeny Biyatov/RIA Novosti

The United States has decided to soften its unilateral sanctions on Russian official arms exporter Rosoboronexport so that it can purchase a specialized digital cameras of the type used by Russia under the Open Skies Treaty, a Department of State official told TASS, explaining the intention of the U.S. government to modify its sanctions imposed on Rosoboronexport.

According to the State Department official, U.S. authorities "have modified the provisions banning… the acquisition from Rosoboronexport and any of its subsidiaries or successors of the OSDCAM4060 electro-optical sensor (camera) used by Russia’s surveillance aircraft under the Treaty on Open Skies."

"The acquisition will enable the United States to assess Russia’s compliance with the Treaty better," the U.S. diplomat said, without going into detail on how the United States wanted to use the surveillance system. He emphasized that such an acquisition was feasible under the Open Skies Treaty.

The State Department official would not specify the number of cameras U.S. authorities planned to buy and when they were going to buy them. The Department of Defense (DoD) said that it would not answer such questions immediately but promised to do so later.

The State Department’s official notification of the modifications to the Rosoboronexport sanctions says the decision also applies to the repair and servicing of sensors, procurement of spares, etc. The document was signed by Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Frank Rose.

The Open Skies Treaty, along with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and Vienna Document of 1999, virtually completed the conventional arms confidence building and transparency regime in the Euro-Atlantic area.

The treaty was signed in Helsinki on March 24, 1992. It enables the signatories to fly over any of each other’s territories for the purpose of surveillance of military activities in line with the agreed quotas determined.

The document regulates the procedures for flights, determines the mechanism for compliance and spells out the requirements to surveillance aircraft and the limits on the composition and characteristics of surveillance gear.

Read more: U.S. partially lifts sanctions on Russian state arms exporter>>>

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