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29 October 2008 - Explanation of vote " Prevention of an arms race in outer space " (L.4) - Statement by H.E. Ambassador Eric Danon

63th session of the United Nations General Assembly
First Committee
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Eric Danon, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on behalf of the European Union


Mr. Chairman

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union on draft resolution L.4 entitled "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space".

[Standard wording on association]

All EU members have voted in favour of this text.

The EU feels that the prevention of an arms race in outer space is an essential condition for the strengthening of the strategic stability and for the promotion of an international cooperation in the exploitation and the utilisation of space for pacific purposes. This is indeed essential considering the growing implication of the international community in space activities whose objective is global development and progress. As actors in the spatial field, we are particularly sensitive to the question of security of space objects and we call upon all Member States to refrain from undertaking actions that are likely to harm it.

Moreover, the EU would particularly like to highlight the necessity of the development and implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures in space, as resolution L.4 acknowledges it. The EU has voted unanimously in favour of General Assembly resolutions on transparency and confidence-building measures relating to space activities and to the prevention of an arms race in outer space. It has also recently given its joint answer to the General Secretary regarding the question about international confidence-building and transparency measures called for in resolution 62/43.

I would also like to recall that, in order to contribute to the strengthening of the good cooperation in the field of space activities, the EU is working on the project of a code of conduct on space activities designed to promote the security of space activities by voluntary confidence-building and transparency measures that can be accepted by a majority of States. We are indeed convinced that the development of information exchanges and of good practices will allow the development of confidence and understanding between space actors, thus contributing effectively to the security of space activities. The EU hopes to soon be able to propose its project to the international community and wishes to be able to conduct negotiations with nations having activities or interests in space.

However, we believe that the references and the call to the Conference on disarmament contained in the resolution in PP 11 and 18 as well as in OP 6 do not take into account the developments and progress in this area. That is to say, on the one hand, that the constructive and substantial debates that have been taking place for more than two years on all subjects on the agenda, and on the other hand, the consecutive presentation of two projects of presidential decisions on a program of work (L.1/CRP-5/CRP-6 and CD/1840) that has practically reached consensus. With these propositions, we hope that the CD will make a new start.

The EU remains open on the formal framework in which a substantial work on the prevention of an arms race in outer space could be initiated. But we would have liked to see , as in past years, the resolution dedicated to this subject better take into account the work of the Member States of this forum and the importance of the debates conducted in it.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU