Americans and Russians urge to keep outer space free of weapons

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Washington, Jan 26 : An international poll has revealed that both Americans and Russians agree that their governments should work together to prevent an arms race in space.

According to the poll carried out by 'World Public Opinion', large majorities in both countries favor unilateral restraint and a treaty that would keep space free of weapons.

The report said that the treaties should be such which would prohibit countries from attacking or interfering with each other's satellites and from testing or deploying weapons designed to attack satellites.

"This poll by World Public Opinion shows that the American public recognizes that keeping space free of weapons is in the best long term interest of the United States even if some portions of the U.S. military establishment do not," said Ray Williamson, Executive Director of the Secure World Foundation, based in Superior, Colorado.

According to Williamson, other nations are fast becoming every bit as dependent on space systems to bolster economic growth and are concerned about possible efforts by the US to place weapons into space.

The poll revealed that majorities in both the United States (78%) and Russia (67%) say that as long as no other country puts weapons into space, their own governments should also refrain from doing so.

Most Russians (72%) and Americans (80%) also favor a new treaty banning all weapons in space, according to the poll.

Support for such a ban was strong among Americans even when they were presented counter arguments about the potential military advantages of deploying such systems.

Asked how high a priority their governments should place on bilateral cooperation to prevent an arms race in space, large majorities of Americans (86%) and Russians (also 86%) agree that it should be an important priority.

The US poll also revealed strong bipartisan consensus on the issue.

Majorities in both the Republican and Democratic parties believe the US government should refrain unilaterally from deploying space weapons. There is also bipartisan backing for a treaty to ban these weapons, though support is higher among Democrats.

According to Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org, there was remarkable agreement within and between US and Russia on the issue of space weapons.

"What is striking is the robust consensus - among Russians as well as Americans, and among Republicans as well as Democrats - that space should not be an arena for the major powers to compete for military advantage," he said.

ANI

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