On December 7, 2015, the 70th session of the UN General Assembly at the plenary session, adopted the No First Placement of Arms in Outer Space resolution (A/RES/70/27) initiated by the Russian Federation and originally co-authored by Brazil and China.
The support by an overwhelming majority of the UN members (129 countries) confirms the crucial importance and relevance of our initiative. It is also significant that the number of co-authors increased to 40 countries at this session (list attached).
It is noteworthy that the only country opposing our initiative in essence is the United States, which has been trying for many years, largely on its own, to block the international community’s consistent efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space (PAROS). Georgia and Ukraine have recently joined it.
The approaches used by EU members have been raising a lot of eyebrows lately, although they used to hold a fairly constructive stance on PAROS. It is regrettable that, for the second year in a row, they refrained from voting for Russia’s resolution under pressure from the United States, and thereby signal indifference to the potential deployment of weapons in outer space. This is grounds to question their reliability as partners in the dialogue on the prevention of the use of force in outer space.
Our resolution, generated as an extension and addition to the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space resolution (that Egypt and Sri Lanka submit every year), proposes specific steps as part of the consistent effort aimed at keeping outer space free of weapons of any kind and ensuring the use of outer space exclusively for peaceful purposes.
One of the key elements in the resolution is to call for an early start of negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to generate a legally binding international ban on weapons in space on the basis of the renewed Russian-Chinese draft Treaty on Preventing the Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space and the Use or Threat of Force against Space Objects (PPWT, submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on June 12, 2014).
In addition, the resolution contains an appeal to all states to consider the adoption of national No First Placement commitments and thereby make the first and very important step on the way to PPWT. Apart from Russia, 11 countries have made this commitment, including Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Venezuela, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka. The globalization of our initiative will provide a political guarantee that no weapons will ever appear in space, and would be an important measure of trust and transparency in international space activities, a reliable tool in the global effort to maintain strategic stability, and equal and indivisible security for all states.
We intend to continue to work vigorously for this initiative to become global and supported by all countries.