Space arms control treaty unlikely

2010-07-13 18:10
Geneva – The United States said on Tuesday that a space arms control treaty was unlikely to emerge in the near future as it still sees flaws in drafts being tabled at the moment.

"I don't see any near-term progress on a space arms control treaty, but again I think there is a lot of shared interest between the US, Russia, China and others on providing space stability," said Frank Rose, deputy assistant secretary of state at the Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Implementation.

"There are a lot of near-term confidence building measures that we hope to work with Russia and China on," he told journalists after addressing the UN Conference on Disarmament.

Russia and China had proposed a new treaty to ban the use of weapons in space in 2008, but the US maintained that it is a "flawed document".

Rose pointed out that one sticking point was that it does not ban land-based anti-satellite capabilities.

"We do not believe anti-satellite capabilities are in anyone's interest, they are debris generating," said Rose.

Maintain sustainable space environment

"We need to maintain a sustainable space environment, blowing up satellites is not consistent with that principle," he stressed.

Addressing the Conference on Disarmament, Rose said that "with respect to negotiating a new space arms control agreement, we have not seen a space arms control agreement that meets the criteria ... on equitability and effective verifiability".

His comment was criticised by Brazil's envoy who remarked that effective verifiability was "attainable with the means disposed by not only one country but by many countries."

"So it's possible to have an agreement in the international community that would meet this criteria."

In addition, the Brazilian noted that there are "clear imbalances between countries" in almost every field.

So if the criteria of equitability were to be applied, "leading countries would never be able to negotiate or be party to an agreement, and it's not the case, fortunately".
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