Egypt elected to lead UN team drafting treaty to prevent space arms race

Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 Nov 2023

Egypt was unanimously elected to assume the presidency of a UN team of experts tasked with drafting a treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday.


Egypt’s Plenipotentiary Minister Bassam Hassan, Director of Arms Control and Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy at the Foreign Ministry, speaking during a meeting for a UN government experts' team tasked with drafting a treaty to prevent an arms race in outer space. Photo courtesy of Egypt's Foreign Ministry

The team, which was formed earlier by the UN secretary-general, will draft the treaty in accordance with the General Assembly’s resolution regarding the issue, the statement said.

The UN team elected Egypt’s Plenipotentiary Minister Bassam Hassan, director of arms control and peaceful uses of atomic energy at the foreign ministry, to lead the team, the ministry said.

The team, whose term extends until August 2024, is responsible for providing recommendations to the UN General Assembly on the possible elements of the desired treaty.

The ministry said that Egypt's election for this task is “an international recognition of its leadership in disarmament and international security.”

This is due to the fact that Egypt’s positions are balanced and objective, especially in the face of renewed arms races in various fields of modern technology, the ministry noted.

The formation of the expert team comes within the context of the increasing international awareness of the necessity to address the unprecedented strategic risks posed by many developing armament capabilities in outer space, including weapons designed to target satellites, said the ministry.

This is particularly crucial given the vital importance of outer space applications, which have become a fundamental cornerstone for all modern technology applications and essential infrastructure in areas such as communications, the internet, guidance, navigation, weather forecasting, and mining.

On 31 October, the General Assembly announced that it would establish two open-ended working groups related to the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space document is a 1981 UN resolution that reaffirms the fundamental principles of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

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