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A WMD-free Zone in the Middle East: New Approaches From the Region

Side Event

On the occasion of the 2018 Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung cordially invite you to a joint side event.


The project of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery in the Middle East has been blocked for many years. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) community now expects creative – and feasible – ideas from the Middle East that can generate a new constructive momentum. To that end, the relevant actors inside and outside of the NPT have to come together and sit at the same table. Their central task is to bridge the fundamentally divisive gulf between the “Disarmament First!” vs. “Regional Security First!” approaches which have so far prevented progress. This side event will give invited experts on or from the region an opportunity to pave the way for a real breakthrough at the decisionmaking level by offering forward-looking and compromise-oriented practical steps instead of repeating old mantras that failed.

For several years, the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East (APOME) has been organizing Track-II meetings between nonofficial representatives from all Middle East countries (including Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia) to explore ways and means of promoting the project of a Zone free of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their Delivery Vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East. It has also publishes a series of Policy Briefs on many of the issues discussed in this process. The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) has been associated with such efforts as well as those of the Finnish facilitator, Amb. Jaakko


The 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended without a final document because of lack of consensus on a conference to discuss the Zone project. Since then, new developments occurred: the 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme (JCPOA); the appointment of a Wise Persons Commission by the Arab League on this issue; efforts towards a Nuclear Test Free Zone in the Middle East; an official commitment of the three Co-Convenors (Russia, the UK, and the US) to re-establish a consultation process. Those developments may open fresh opportunities for dialogue and progress on the basis of new ‘cooperative ideas’ from the region. This panel will follow up two side events organised during the 2017 NPT PrepCom in Vienna in May 2017.

Welcome remarks: Mr Hubert René Schillinger, Director Geneva Office, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)

Moderators: Adj. Prof. Dr Bernd W. Kubbig, Project Leader, APOME, and Mr Marc Finaud, Senior Advisor, GCSP

‒ Mr Shemuel Meir (Consultant, Israel)
‒ Mr Tariq Rauf (former Head of Verification and Security Policy Coordination, Office reporting to the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, SIPRI)
‒ Ms Mona Ahmed Saleh (American University Cairo, Egypt)

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Palais des Nations, Room XVI - Please ensure to bring your valid accreditation to enter the Palais des Nations.

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