I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
I am taking the floor to reiterate our positions on this cluster, particularly on L.58 Rev1 "Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race" and L.59 "No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space”. We are not in a position to support draft resolutions L.58 Rev1 and L. 59
The European Union and its Member States have long advocated the preservation of a safe and secure space environment and peaceful uses of outer space on an equitable and mutually acceptable basis. Strengthening the safety, security, and long-term sustainability of activities in outer space is a key priority for us and in our common interest.
We believe it is important to develop initiatives that will increase confidence and mutual trust between current and future space actors. In this regard, we would like to highlight the importance of Transparency and Confidence Building Measures that can make a contribution to the security, safety and sustainability of activities in outer space. This is the reason why the EU proposed some years ago an international Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. We encourage further international cooperation to elaborate agreed principles of responsible behavior in outer space and underline the need to advocate responsible behavior in outer space notably in the UN framework.
The EU and its Member States remain committed to the prevention of an arms race in outer space. Therefore, all EU Member States will vote in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution L.3 regarding the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS).
With regard to draft Resolution L.59 on “No First Placement of Weapons in Outer Space” (NFP), we are concerned that this particular initiative does not adequately respond to the objective of strengthening trust and confidence between States, but could rather increase the risk of conflict in space.
The NFP initiative does not address the difficult issue of defining what a weapon in outer space is, which could lead a State to mistakenly assess that another State has placed weapons in outer space. Without a common understanding of what constitutes a weapon in space, a State could inadvertently put an object in space that another State considers to be a weapon.
We remain concerned of the continued development of all anti-satellite weapons and capabilities, including terrestrially based, and underline the importance of addressing such developments promptly and as part of international efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space.
Rather than introducing a NFP pledge, the EU and its Member States believe it would be more useful to address the behavior in, and use of, outer space in order to advance meaningful discussions and initiatives on how to prevent space from becoming an arena for conflict and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the space environment.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.