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Outer space: explanation of the vote

Outer space: explanation of the vote

Mr. President,

France voted against the draft resolution submitted today. We deplore the obstructionist tactic used by Russia, which clearly sought to divide the Council and shift responsibility for the failure of this draft text, without sincerely supporting its objectives. France's vote today reflects our rejection of this approach.

On April 24, Russia vetoed the draft resolution on outer space prepared by the United States and Japan. We would like to salute once again the efforts made by these two countries, during the open discussions, to reach a compromise solution. Their project reaffirmed the importance of the 1967 Treaty, which forms the basis of international space law.

He stressed the role of specialized bodies such as the Conference on Disarmament in further developing the legal regime applicable to space.

After Russia alone prevented the adoption of this text, it presented to the Council an alternative draft, 15 paragraphs of which were derived directly from the proposal submitted by the United States and Japan. Surprisingly, Russia vetoed the text from which it drew much inspiration for its own project.

France's position is clear. We support the paragraphs that mention the role of the 1967 Treaty. But Russia is seeking to impose new provisions, which has only pushed the Council away from reaching an agreement.

These additions are intended to provide references to the proposed treaty on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space. This proposal is not unanimous and is the subject of discussion in disarmament forums. France has reservations regarding this proposed treaty, which may pose a dilemma in defining terms and establishing effective verification mechanisms.

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During the negotiations on this draft resolution, we, like many other Council members, called for not to prejudge the ongoing discussions in disarmament forums. In the spirit of compromise, we accepted that the draft made no mention of reducing space threats by setting standards for responsible behaviour, even though 166 States supported the resolution encouraging this approach in the First Committee of the General Assembly.

Russia, for its part, has insisted that it wants its proposal for the treaty to be included in the text, yet it knows that the majority of Council members do not support it.

It is this refusal to negotiate, just like the veto it used a few weeks ago, that allows us to question Russia's credibility when it claims to be working to unite the international community in negotiating an agreement on preventing an arms race in space.

Mr. President,

It is in everyone's interest that outer space remains safe, stable and used for peaceful purposes. France is committed to respecting the 1967 Treaty and international law, as well as preventing an arms race in space. To move towards this goal, they are mobilized in discussions in relevant disarmament forums, including with regard to the definition of political commitments and appropriate binding instruments.

I thank you.