CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT HEARS STATEMENTS FROM ITS PRESIDENT AND THE GROUP OF 21
5 August 2014
The Conference on Disarmament this morning heard statements by its President, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, on behalf of the Group of 21, and Russia. Conference Members decided to cancel scheduled informal sessions on the timetable of a planned Schedule of Activities.
The President of the Conference, Ambassador Anthony Andanje of Kenya, gave an update on the status of ongoing consultations and proposed the cancellation of the outstanding scheduled informal sessions on substantive agenda items on the Schedule of Activities. No Conference Member State objected to the proposal.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking on behalf of the Group of 21, and Russia also took the floor in today’s meeting
The next public plenary of the Conference will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 12 August 2014. The third and last part of the 2014 session of the Conference on Disarmament will conclude on 12 September 2014.
Statement by the President of the Conference
Ambassador ANTHONY ANDANJE of Kenya, President of the Conference, gave an update on the status of ongoing consultations on proposals for a Friend of the President and on the establishment of an informal working group on Methods of Work. The President recalled that he had sought the views of delegations on the way forward, and had requested Regional Coordinators to provide a response by close of business on Wednesday 6 August 2014. However, in an effort to expedite the Conference’s work, the President said he had since consulted with all the coordinators of the substantive agenda items on the Schedule of Activities who informed him that it would not be necessary to hold further informal sessions on their respective agenda items. Therefore in view of the circumstances and mindful of decision CD/1978 adopted 26 March 2014 on a Schedule of Activities for the 2014 session, the President said he sought the agreement of the Conference to cancel the outstanding scheduled sessions.
No objections were raised and the Conference on Disarmament decided to cancel the scheduled sessions.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking on behalf of the Group of 21, delivered a statement on the issue of the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS). The Group of 21 believed space technology had become an indispensable and integral part of daily life. Outer space and other celestial bodies were the common heritage of humankind and must be used, explored and utilized for the benefit and interest of all humankind, in a spirit of cooperation and for peaceful purposes only. The prevention of an arms race in outer space was both important and urgent, the Group emphasized. It expressed deep concern over the negative implications of the development and deployment of anti-ballistic missile defence systems and the pursuit of advanced military technologies capable of being deployed in outer space. The Conference on Disarmament should start negotiations on matters related to the prevention of an arms race in outer space, because existing legal instruments were inadequate to deter further militarization of outer space or prevent its weaponization, said the Group.
Taking note of the completion of the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on the adoption of a study on outer space transparency and confidence-building measures, as requested by General Assembly Resolution 65/68), the Group recognised the value of transparency and confidence-building measures including a non-legally binding code of conduct in promoting trust among States. However, the Group continued, such voluntary measures could not be a substitute for a legally binding treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space. It welcomed the updated draft treaty text submitted jointly by Russia and China on the “Prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space, the threat or use of force against outer space objects (PPWT)” to the Conference on Disarmament in June 2014, which was a good basis for discussions leading to the adoption of an international binding instrument.
Russia took the floor to state that although its delegation did not oppose the adoption of today’s decision on cancelling the scheduled informal sessions, it was far from ideal. The speaker noted that it would be useful if the group coordinators, especially those working on topics of interest to Russia – namely the prevention of an arms race in outer space – could share work done so far, before the next steps were taken. Russia also mentioned that it had planned to bring an expert from capital to participate in the remaining session.
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