Code 40859
PublishDate: Sunday, January 16, 201113:19

Agreement with US on transit to Afghanistan submitted to Duma

President Dmitry Medvedev submitted to the State Duma for ratification on Friday night an intergovernmental agreement with the United States on the transit of armaments, military hardware, munitions and personnel across the Russian territory in connection with the U.S. participation in efforts for ensuring the security, stabilisation and restoration of Afghanistan. A report about it appeared on the site of the Duma as ITAR TASS reported

The provisions of the document “establish the international legal basis for providing by Russia, in accordance with resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, of the opportunity of transit across its air space of U.S. armaments, military hardware, munitions and personnel, which are going to be used in operations, conducted by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), as well as of armaments, military hardware, munitions and personnel of other countries, to which the U.S. gives rear support in Afghanistan. Under the agreement, “the U.S. military-transport planes and other state-owned transport planes, which shall make transit flights in accordance with the agreement, shall be exempted from air navigation fees.” This is regarded as “Russia’s contribution to the international efforts, aimed at achieving stabilisation in Afghanistan.”

Russia signed similar agreements on military transit to that Central Asian country with Germany, Spain and France and already ratified them.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained after the concluding of the agreement with Washington (in July 2009), that the U.S. gave to Russia the right to order the landing and to inspect any plane with a transit cargo for the Coalition, which goes to Afghanistan. “The Russian jurisdiction will be applied whenever we shall find it necessary and whenever we shall demand it,” he said. “We have the right to request any plane to land in Russia for checking whether the declared cargo is the same, which is carried by the plane.”
“All those procedures have been recorded. From the legal point of view, this is a most clear and effective mechanism, and I think it will work without failures,” Lavrov continued.

He specified that the agreement provided for only air transit. “The agreement says that the transit may be done by commercial flights and flights of U.S. military-transport planes.” According to his information, “U.S. military-transport planes are going to make up to 4,000 flights a year.”
Commenting on the results of the Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon, Medvedev said on November 20, 2010, that Russia had agreed to the back transit of non-lethal cargoes across its territory in the interests of participants in the ISAF operation.

“Of course, we discussed the continuation of our cooperation in the sphere of transit. This is an important direction, which is appreciated by all. We reached new agreements on the transit of civilian cargoes and of non-lethal types of equipment, under which the equipment will be transported from Afghanistan to third countries,” Medvedev said.
Late in November 2010 U.S. Assistance Secretary of Defence Alexander Vershbow reported that by that time some 90,000 U.S. officers and men had been transported to Afghanistan across the Russian air space, or back from that country. Tens of thousands of containers with non-military cargoes of the Pentagon had been delivered to Afghanistan by railway.

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