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Russian Foreign Ministry: No observation flights near Abkhazia, South Ossetia (10.09.12)

Moscow has warned against flying near its border with Abkhazia and South Ossetia under the pretext of performing the Treaty on Open Skies.

"Russia will continue to firmly adhere to a position that any flight under the Open Skies agreement closer than ten kilometers from the Abkhaz and South Ossetian borders would be a gross violation of Article 6 of this Agreement," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are independent states, it said.

"Reluctance to acknowledge that could have an adverse effect on the functioning of tools of boosting military safety and confidence in Europe, including the Treaty on Open Skies," the foreign ministry said.

The treaty allows its members (24 members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) to perform overflights over each other's territory. The aim is to boost confidence and improve mechanisms of monitoring defense activities and compliance with arms control agreements.