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Russian Foreign Ministry statement on initiatives in the CD, 12 February 2008

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Press Release, On the Statement of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, 13 February 2008.

On February 12 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, in his statement at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, set out the principled approaches of Russia on the topical problems of disarmament, arms control and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, the draft prepared by Russia and China of a treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space, the threat or use of force against outer space objects (PPWT) was formally submitted. The idea of developing that document had been suggested by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in Munich in February 2007.

The draft's submission was the result of the long-running work begun by Russia and China back in 2002, when the two countries came up with a working CD document containing basic elements of that treaty. In subsequent years military space problems became the subject of multilateral discussion in Geneva and in the UN General Assembly in New York.

The draft sets forth the following obligations of states parties: not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kinds of weapons, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies and not to station such weapons in outer space in any other manner; not to resort to the threat or use of force against outer space objects. Such a legally binding international instrument could become a reliable guarantee that outer space will never be turned into a sphere of military confrontation. It would create a firm basis for ensuring the security of space vehicles and the safety of the expensive orbital property of states.

The idea of joint preparation of a PPWT has found broad support in the international community and the submission of the draft is a significant step on the road towards its realization.

The Russian Foreign Minister in his statement also dwelt upon the proposal advanced by President Putin in October 2007 to impart a global character to the obligations set forth in the Treaty between the USSR and the USA on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. Russia's proposal stems from the danger of the proliferation of missile weapons of these two classes and from the desire to put up a barrier to such a development of events. At the 62nd UNGA session, this proposal was backed up by the United States of America and an overwhelming majority of states. Sergey Lavrov called for continuation of the work in this direction.

The statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation at the Conference on Disarmament summed up a number of Russian foreign policy initiatives that have become major events of international life.

Source: Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, www.russianembassy.org.

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