Skip to main content

Conference on Disarmament Concludes Thematic Discussion on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space

Meeting Summaries


The Conference on Disarmament this morning concluded a thematic discussion on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

Welcoming resolution 75/36 of the General Assembly, speakers said further discussion must take into account both the complexity and frequent dual use of space systeMs. They underscored that all States bore the responsibility to refrain from activities that could jeopardise the common goal of preserving a peaceful, safe, stable and sustainable space environment. The draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects was one of several blocks that prepared negotiations on a legally binding instrument, to which there were no alternatives. Stressing that the Conference could no longer ignore the perils of deploying military technologies in outer space, some speakers said the ongoing thematic discussion was proof of obfuscation by a handful of States blocking negotiations on the draft Treaty. Warning against discriminatory approaches that were detrimental to developing countries, some speakers said the concept of “responsible behaviour” could create new norms and thus create additional obstacles to the prevention of an arms race in outer space. Others said it would be useful to define this concept, notably to avoid acts that could cause miscalculations. Regretting paralysis in the Conference, speakers stressed that voluntary measures were not sufficient, and that there were no alternatives to transparent multilateral processes.

Speaking were Norway, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, Switzerland, Syria, South Africa, and Mexico.

Speaking in right of reply were the Russian Federation and the United States.

The thematic discussion on the prevention of an arms race started on Tuesday, 1 June and a summary can be found here.

The Conference will next meet in public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 8 June to hold a thematic discussion on its agenda item 4 on effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.