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It was a small step.
But after almost a decade of deadlock, the United Nations Conference on Disarmament last week approved a working group to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissionable material for nuclear weapons and another to discuss preventing an arms race in outer space.
The U.N. group, which met in Geneva, had been unable to agree on a work agenda for the past 10 years. That was partly because of the U.S. refusal to give in to demands by the Chinese and Russians for the conference to study prevention of arms in space. In turn, those countries and others blocked negotiations sought by the United States to ban production of new fissile material for weapons without verification provisions.