A memorandum on flight safety in Syria, which was signed between Russia and the United States on Oct. 20, regulates all aircraft and drone flights in the Syrian airspace and aims to ensure flight safety, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has said.
"We consider it a positive step that the Russian Defense Ministry and the U.S. Defense Department have signed a memorandum of understanding on incident prevention and aviation flight safety during the operation in the Syrian Arab Republic," he said.
"The document is of important practical significance" as it regulates the operation of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Syrian airspace, he said.
"The memorandum contains a set of rules and restrictions aimed at preventing incidents between Russian and U.S. aviation," Antonov said. Once the agreement comes into effect, 24/7 communication channels will be established "between the relevant Russian and U.S. military command bodies and a cooperation mechanism determined, including the provision of mutual assistance in critical situations," the deputy minister said.
"The U.S. undertook to deliver the agreed-upon rules to all the members of its anti-ISIS coalition, whose pilots will be guided by these agreements," the Russian defense official said.
Experts from both sides drafted the memorandum "within the shortest period of time," Antonov said. "Its conclusion is testament to the high potential for Russian-U.S. cooperation, including in fighting terrorism, which we are ready to broaden and deepen," the deputy minister said.
"The memorandum is purely military-technical," Antonov said. "Its signing does not change Russia's principled position. Our armed forces are operating in Syria in accordance with international law, at the request of the legitimate government, whereas the United States and its anti-ISIS coalition are using force in Syria without its government's consent and in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution," the deputy minister said.
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