Photo from the U.S.Department of Defense

The United States and Russia were among a small number of countries that blocked the U.N. from moving toward talks on whether to ban so-called killer robots.

During a week of meetings in Geneva, which ended in the early hours of Saturday, a group at the United Nations' Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) discussed whether to take negotiations on fully autonomous weapons powered by artificial intelligence to a formal level that could lead to a treaty banning them, POLITICO said.

However, a list of non-binding recommendations that participating countries agreed on, seen by POLITICO, dodges the question of whether to move on to formal negotiations.

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Mary Wareham, coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, said that Russia, the U.S., South Korea, Israel and Australia were the main countries opposing the call for action.

"It's a disappointment, of course, that a small minority of large military powers can hold back the will of the majority," she said.

Her group represents 75 non-governmental organizations in 32 countries fighting for a ban on weapons that use AI technology to choose their targets. It says 26 countries endorse a full ban on the weapons.

Throughout the meeting, many of those countries reiterated their call for strong regulation, pushing for the U.N. to start formal negotiations next year.

Doing so would be the next step toward binding international rules but opponents of a ban stood firm. The document issued at the end of the meeting recommends that non-binding talks continue.