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Russian FM slams Washington for sabotaging talks on space disarmament

Russian FM slams Washington for sabotaging talks on space disarmament
Washington has blocked the final report on the prevention of an arms race in space without any reasonable explanation, the Russian Foreign Ministry said as a UN Group of Governmental Experts fails to come up with a joint document.

Experts from 25 states held talks in Geneva in the end of March. Established by the UN General Assembly in 2017, the Group of Governmental Experts was set to lay the basis for a treaty that would ensure peace in space. Little progress, however, was made as the participants were unable to agree on a joint document.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry pinned the blame for the failed talks on the US expert who blocked the final report “without any reasonable explanation.” Moscow, however, was not surprised with the dismal outcome.

Such scenario was essentially predictable given the US policy [aimed at] ensuring its one-sided domination in space by any means.

So far, the legal framework for controlling the arms race is restricted to the Outer Space Treaty – a Cold War era document signed in 1967 which prohibits the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in Earth’s orbit, on the Moon, or other celestial bodies. 

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However, the treaty does not explicitly prohibit the transit of weapons of mass destruction if launched by ballistic missiles, and the use of conventional weapons – something that has become a growing concern since huge strides in technology have been made over the past 50 years.

The US military recently announced plans to enhance and expand its existing missile shield. The missile defense review released by the Pentagon in January 2019 recommends adding new capabilities, including space-based sensors.

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Russia and China advocate a treaty that would ban weapons in space. In 2008, both nations proposed a joint draft of the document to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. An updated version submitted in 2014 was, however, rejected by the US.

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