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US Not To Sign Code Of Conduct For Space If It Restricts Defense Rights

Frank A. Rose, US Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, has stressed that the ABM Administration would not subscribe to an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities if it constrained or limited America's right of individual or collective self-defense, its intelligence community programs or operations, or its ballistic missile defense systems or capabilities.

He was delivering remarks at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on Wednesday.

The United States in January decided to initiate consultations and negotiations with the European Union (EU) and other space-faring nations to develop an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.

Rose said that while Washington is not officially signing onto EU's proposed Code of Conduct, "we believe the EU's latest draft is a useful foundation and constructive starting point for developing a consensus on an International Code."

An International Code will establish a set of non-legally-binding transparency and confidence-building measures. Rose made it clear that it is not a legally-binding treaty or an international agreement that would impose legal obligations on the United States. However, he assured that all departments and agencies involved in U.S. economic, commercial, and national security space activities will remain fully involved in the on-going U.S. inter-agency efforts to formulate a U.S. government policy and final decision on subscription to an International Code. Furthermore, as revised drafts of the Code are developed in multilateral diplomatic negotiations, U.S. positions will be fully coordinated across the U.S. Government. We will also continue to consult with Congress and U.S. Industry, he told the Symposium.

Rose added that the International Code would enhance the long-term sustainability of the space environment, which is fundamentally in the national security and economic interests of the United States.

The United States has consulted with the EU over the past four-plus years, and we will continue to shape an International Code through our active participation in international consultations and negotiations throughout 2012 and beyond, the US official said.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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