Russia Champions Secure Space (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for Russia Today)
Preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space remains one of the key objectives of the Russian diplomacy. The current legal framework in this sphere does not guarantee secure space, leaving room for a possible arms race. Safe space will contribute to the international security and stability, trust and predictability in relations between states. We believe that space should be used solely for the peaceful scientific research purposes in the interest of development and progress in the world. That is why Russia stands for secure space and is eager to promote initiatives that prohibit weaponization of space and help develop international cooperation.
Among the initiatives that Russia has put forward in international fora is a comprehensive agreement to transform space into a zone completely free of any weapons. This agreement – a Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects – was first proposed by Russia and China in February 2008 as an international legally binding mechanism that would outlaw weaponization of space. An updated draft treaty was presented in June 2014 at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. We call on the international community to start multilateral negotiations on the draft as soon as possible.
Together with Brazil, Indonesia and Sri-Lanka Russia proposed a UN General Assembly draft resolution on “no first deployment of weapons in outer space”. We hope that other countries will join us in co-sponsoring this draft in order to make the initiative a global one. This could be a positive first step towards concluding a comprehensive legally binding instrument that would prohibit militarization of space. Meanwhile, bilateral statements on this issue have been signed by Russia with Brazil, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, Argentina, and Cuba.
In this regard, we welcome the consensual approval of the UNGA resolution on transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space (TCBMs), proposed by Russia at the 68th UNGA session and based on the results of the work of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on TCBMs. This resolution as well as the final report of the GGE can serve a solid foundation for continuing cooperation in this area and promotion of the TCBMs, which are also important in terms of creating a mechanism on verification under a future treaty.
Russia is ready to continue collaboration with the EU on a draft International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. In general, we support initiatives that aim at codification and implementation of TCBMs in international relations, bearing in mind that they should be agreed, as is stated in the Sixth BRICS Summit Fortaleza Declaration of 15 July 2014, through inclusive and consensus-based multilateral negotiations to be conducted within the framework of the UN without specific deadlines in order to reach a balanced outcome that addresses the needs and reflects the concerns of all participants.
Russia firmly believes that space belongs to all mankind and should be exploited by all states in a peaceful, transparent and open manner. Actions based on the illusion of a monopoly in outer space, including on weapons, will lead humanity to another wasteful arms race and a deadlock in development.