Washington, DC
December 6, 1993

Today, representatives of the United States, Canada, Japan, and certain member states of the European Space Agency (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom) have taken an historic step toward advancing the peaceful exploration of space. Meeting in Washington on December 6, they have decided to extend a formal invitation to the Government of the Russian Federation to join the international Space Station Program.

This decision follows from the agreement of the Space Station Partner Governments at the Intergovernmental Meeting in Paris on October 16, 1993, to explore collectively with Russia possible Russian partnership in the international Space Station program, and to work together to develop an integrated plan for Russian involvement. It results from the ensuing intensive consultation among the partners, both at the governmental and cooperating agency level.

In reaching this decision, the partners recognized that Russia, with its impressive record of accomplishments in space, including its wealth of experience in human space flight activities, could make valuable contributions to this program. The Partners also recognized that Russian involvement in this program would represent important progress toward their shared objective of building broad cooperative relationships with Russia.

The Partner Governments agreed that, pursuant to their desire to include Russia as a partner, the expanded partnership would operate consistent with the Intergovernmental Agreement of September 29, 1988, on Cooperation in the Detailed Design, Development, Operation, and Utilization of the Permanently Manned Civil Space Station. They agreed to work together in the months ahead on the necessary legal instruments to include Russia in the partnership.

The Joint Invitation is being conveyed to the Government of Russia through diplomatic channels.