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Towards A WMD-free Zone In The Middle East: Introducing Novel Initiatives
New York, United States
International Expert Panel
Since 2015 the discussions among regional experts on a WMD-free Zone in the Middle East at the Track I level (governments) and Track II level (academia) with their extra-regional counterparts have been unproductive. This is due to the fact that the basic gap between the demands for “Disarmament First!” (traditionally voiced by Egypt-led Arab countries) and “Regional Peace/Security First!” (called for by Israel) could not be bridged. The prospects for a successful Third Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) in New York (29 April-10 May 2019) and probably also the Review Conference (RevCon) (27 April-22 May 2020) producing a consensual document remain bleak.
We have a new situation insofar as the Egypt-led Arab countries introduced in autumn 2018 in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) the draft resolution “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the region of the Middle East” (document A/C.1/71/L.1).
Based on or previous activities, we continue to pursue an all-inclusive as well as pro & con approach (meaning that our side event will include panellists supporting a new Egypt-led approach and others in favour of the so-called ‘Laajava approach’). It recognizes the positive aspect of the draft resolution but makes at the same time the case for providing a conceptual and formal setting that brings all actors into the process, of course including Israel. It is this approach which will guide the planned side-event.
We suggest building on the Russian proposal presented for the first time at the First NPT PrepCom in Vienna on 8 May 2017 (and in 2018 in Geneva) to make regional security part of the official agenda thereby taking the traditional Israeli position into account. As we have written, the Russian proposal should be seen as a good start, but it would not be enough to have just one seminar on these issues. Instead, we suggest making the regional security issue a legitimate and continuous part of any two-pillar talks about a WMD/DVs Free Zone.
Moderators: Bernd W. Kubbig (APOME) & Marc Finaud (GCSP) Speakers:
‒ Luise Rürup (Director, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, New York Office): Introductory remarks
‒ Bernd W. Kubbig & Marc Finaud: Setting the stage for an initiative by the Egyptian President
‒ Nataliya Artemenkova (PIR Center): The Russian proposal as a starting point for making regional security concerns a legitimate part of the Zone agenda
‒ Kelsey Davenport (Arms Control Association): A cooperative role for the Depositary States in the Zone process
‒ Tytti Erästö (SIPRI): Lack of disarmament in the Middle East: A thorn in the side of the NPT
‒ Mark Fitzpatrick (IISS): The missile issue as a novel element of the Zone talks
‒ Edward M. Ifft (Hoover Institution): The prospects of a world without nuclear weapons
‒ El-Sayed Ghannam (PhD candidate, Egyptian Diplomat, GCSP Alumnus): The impact of the Arab initiative for a UN Conference
‒ Marc Finaud & Bernd W. Kubbig: Concluding remarks on the prospects of an Egyptian President’s initiative