GA: Use of the veto - outer space

Joint Nordic (N5) statement delivered by Denmark's Permanent Representative Ambassador Christina Markus Lassen on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.


I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Denmark.

We thank you for convening this debate following the veto cast by Russia in the Security Council on 24 April. The Nordics co-sponsored resolution 76/262 on the ‘veto initiative’ and we continue to underline its importance as part of efforts to make the Council more transparent and accountable.

We regret Russia’s unjustified use of the veto. This is the 6th veto cast in the Council during the first four months of this year alone. Russia’s veto blocked a timely initiative by Japan and the United States that sought to reaffirm the obligation of States Parties to the Outer Space Treaty not to place nuclear weapons in orbit around earth. Upholding this obligation would help prevent an arms race in outer space, and avert a grave danger for international peace and security, while promoting the peaceful exploration and uses of outer space.

With its veto, Russia prevented the Security Council from fulfilling its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.


Nuclear weapons in space would pose a significant risk to us all..

It is our common goal to ensure that outer space is a safe, stable, secure and sustainable environment for all States. As a State Party to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, we expect Russia to act in conformity with this common goal.

The resolution underlined the existing commitments under the “Outer Space Treaty”, which 115 countries have ratified, including the five permanent members of the Council – as well as our five Nordic countries. It reaffirmed the obligations of all State parties not to place any objects carrying nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit around the Earth, or station such weapons on celestial bodies or in outer space in any other manner. It sought to ensure that a nuclear device should never be developed for that purpose.


Upholding the commitments of the Outer Space Treaty is as important now as ever, and it is key to ensuring the common interest of all humankind in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. The Nordics reaffirm the applicability of international law, including the United Nations Charter, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and international humanitarian law, as well as the consensual voluntary principles developed within the UN framework to outer space.

[As already stated by others,] the veto does not relieve Russia of its obligations under international law, including the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. And, we continue to call on all States that have not yet done so, to accede to the Treaty.


The Council does its work on behalf of all UN Member States. Its decisions affect us all, and it should therefore be held accountable by us all. 

The founders of this esteemed organization envisioned the veto power as a mechanism to foster consensus and prevent unilateral actions that could threaten global peace and stability. As a permanent member of the Council, Russia bears a special responsibility to exercise its veto in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the Charter.

I thank you.