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Egypt Leads in UN Effort to Prevent Space Arms Race

November 22, 2023
Photo: Egypt’s Plenipotentiary Minister Bassam Hassan, speaking during the UN meeting to prevent an arms race in outer space. Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Egypt has been unanimously elected to lead a United Nations expert team tasked with drafting a treaty preventing an arms race in outer space, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 21 November. The team, formed by the UN secretary-general, will work in alignment with the General Assembly’s resolution on the matter. 

Egypt’s Plenipotentiary Minister and Director of the Arms Control and Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Bassam Hassan, has been appointed to lead the team during its term until August 2024. The selection of Hassan underscores international acknowledgment of Egypt’s prowess in disarmament and its commitment to global security, highlighting the nation’s impartial stance.

The formation of the expert team responds to the growing international awareness of strategic threats posed by developing armament capabilities in outer space. This includes weapons designed to target satellites, given the vital role of outer space applications in modern technology, such as communications, the internet, guidance, navigation, weather forecasting, and mining. 

The formation of this expert team is a direct response to the General Assembly’s decision on October 31. The Assembly established two open-ended working groups dedicated to curbing an arms race in outer space, reiterating the principles outlined in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty through a reaffirmation in a 1981 UN resolution.

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