WMDFZ in the Middle East: What Now?

MENACS held an event on May 7, 2015 in the ECOSOC chamber of the United Nations headquarters to discuss the current status of diplomatic work toward holding a Middle East WMDFZ Conference, review potential implications of current regional events on the prospects of such a Zone, and offer creative yet realistic proposals for what can be achieved during and following the 2015 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The event was co-hosted by the UK delegation to the NPT with welcome remarks by Dr. Matthew Rowland, UK Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and the head of the UK delegation to the 2015 NPT RevCon. The panel was moderated by Dr. Chen Kane, CNS Director of the Middle East Nonproliferation Program, with the participation of Karim Kamel of the Social Science Research Council and Tiara Shaya of the Atlantic Council. Mrs. Stephanie Mendes-Candido, project manager at the Heinrich Böll Stiftung provided introductory remarks. The event launched the new report Planning Ahead: A Blueprint to Negotiate and Implement a Weapon-of-Mass-Destruction-Free Zone in the Middle East. The report, supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explores political, legal, technical, and organizational issues essential to negotiating and implementing the Zone. It recommends regional states establish a group of experts that can address the challenges in establishing “an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems.”