Agreement For The Prevention Of Incidents On And Over The High Seas

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Dic 02

Agreement For The Prevention Of Incidents On And Over The High Seas

In the late 1960s, several incidents broke out between the U.S. Navy and the Soviet Navy. These include aircraft from the two nations passing by each other, colliding ships and aircraft that make threatening movements against those on the other side. In March 1968, the United States proposed discussions on preventing such incidents. The Soviet Union accepted the invitation in November 1970 and the discussions were held in two cycles – October 1, 1971 in Moscow and May 17, 1972 in Washington, D.C. The agreement was signed in 1972 by Navy Minister John Warner and Soviet Admiral Sergey Gorchkov at the Moscow Summit. The protocol to this agreement was born from the first meeting of the advisory committee established by the agreement. Each party recognized that additional arrangements for non-military vessels could improve their effectiveness. In the protocol signed on May 22, 1973 in Washington, D.C, each side pledged not to carry out simulated attacks on other people`s non-military ships.

At the height of the Cold War, after a series of meetings between U.S. and Soviet Navy ships and aircraft resulted in several near-collisions, INCSEA clarified international law regarding the security and professionalism of military operations on and above the high seas during the peace period. For example, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), all ships and aircraft, including warships and military aircraft, can operate freely along the coastal state`s sea route. Ships and aircraft of all states enjoy these freedoms of navigation and overflight and other lawful international uses of the sea within the framework of these freedoms. In addition, UNCLOS reflects the usual rule that ships and aircraft operate “duely” for the rights of other ocean and airspace users. Although the United States has not ratified UNCLOS, it has been considering the treaty on customary international law for a long time since 1983. However, UNCLOS remains silent on how such military operations should be conducted. Although the 1944 International Civil Aviation Convention establishes important safety standards and “road rules” for civilian aircraft, its conditions merely require “state aircraft,” such as military aircraft, to operate “with due consideration for the safety of civilian aircraft navigation” (emphasizing). The United States and other states have also considered the principle of “appropriate attention” for military aircraft. However, INCSEA added, on this point, an urgent need for clarity with regard to the conduct of military operations, particularly in the airspace over the high seas. Twelve NATO allies had signed bilateral military agreements with the Soviet Union on preventing incidents at sea outside territorial waters.

These allies are the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Portugal, Greece and Turkey. Geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia have fluctuated sharply since 1972, but even at the height of the Cold War, these agreements brought down the temperature. They must continue to do so and the United States should use all diplomatic levers to ensure that it continues to serve the mutual interests of both states. Russia cannot be publicly embarrassed or intimidated, but it has a long history of tactical prudence. The United States should prioritize talks with Russia within INCSEA and the DMA by requesting a bilateral investigation into any unsealed or uncertain interactions. Just as Russian reconnaissance aircraft continue to fly across the United States.