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Prevention of an arms race in outer space

On October 24, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the thematic discussions of the First Committee of the Seventy-third Session of the General Assembly dedicated to the “Prevention of an arms race in outer space.”

In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that it is difficult to identify recent progress in disarmament. He praised the 1967 Treaty governing the exploration and use of outer space for clarifying that all exploration and use of outer space and celestial bodies like the moon will be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and for preventing placing any nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction in outer space. He said that the use of outer space for monitoring activities on earth, especially the monitoring and verification of nuclear arms reduction and elimination agreements, is very important. He welcomed the UN Disarmament Commission’s work on transparency and confidence building measures, which he said can dissuade States from feeling compelled to compete in an “arms race,” and asked whether the time has come to establish an International Satellite Monitoring Agency. He called on States not to test ballistic-missile-related systems in an anti-satellite mode and said consideration should be given to establishing “keep out” zones around space objects. Finally, he said that multilateral activities in outer space, like the International Space Station, can help prevent an arms race.

The statement can be found here.