UN to consider banning the arms race in space

October 31, 2017, Pressenza.

An artist’s concept of a ground/space-based hybrid laser weapon. (Image by US Air Force)

On the 30th of October, the First Committee of the UN General Assembly (Disarmament and International Security) approved six draft resolutions, including one on a legally binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

During the meeting, the Committee approved the draft resolution “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space”, by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 5 against (France, Israel, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States), with 45 abstentions. By the terms of that text, the General Assembly would urge the Conference on Disarmament to agree on a balanced programme of work that included the immediate commencement of negotiations on an international legally binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

The Committee also approved three other draft resolutions related to disarmament aspects of outer space, including one on transparency and confidence‑building measures in outer space activities. By a recorded vote of 175 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Israel, United States), it approved the draft resolution “Prevention of an arms race in outer space”. By its terms, the Assembly would call upon all States, in particular those with major space capabilities, to refrain from actions contrary to that goal and to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space.

The draft resolution “No first placement of weapons in outer space” was approved by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 4 against (Georgia, Israel, Ukraine, United States), with 48 abstentions. That text would have the General Assembly encourage all States, especially space‑faring nations, to consider the possibility of upholding, as appropriate, a political commitment not to be the first to place weapons in outer space.

The Committee approved, without a vote, two draft resolutions related to other weapons of mass destruction: “Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction” and “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction”.


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