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A WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East: The Road Toward It as Seen From Moscow

25.09.2020

MOSCOW. SEPTEMBER 25, 2020. PIR PRESS. “The Middle East remains one of the zones of high tension and instability in the contemporary world. We should, however, admit that 2019 was marked by an important event in the sphere of non-proliferation of WMD - the November UN Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction - which can be described as generally successful, at least much more successful than anticipated,” - write Vladimir Orlov and Natalia Artemenkova in their article «A WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East: The Road Toward It as Seen From Moscow», which was published in “International Affairs” in English.

The article “A WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East: The Road Toward It as Seen From Moscow” by Vladimir Orlov and Natalia Artemenkova was published in “International Affairs” in English language. The Russian translation of the article can be found here.

The article examines the evolution of the Russian approach to create a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East since 1995. It also mentions the TASS statement of January 22, 1958, which proves that the Soviet Union initiated the discussion of a WMDFZ in the Middle East.

After analyzing the results of the November UN Conference of 2019, the authors concluded that:

  1. Attended by many of the regional states and four out of five nuclear states, the November Conference launched practical realization of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference Resolution on the Middle East.
  2. The arguments of those who claim that the Conference is of non-inclusive nature do not hold water: any state can join its second and later sessions.
  3. Political declaration demonstrated that all participants were determined to work together.
  4. The NPT Conference and the UN Conference share a mutually complementary nature where the WMD-Free Zone could be discussed.

Why is it important for Russia? “The Middle East is situated dangerously close to the borders of Russia and its CSTO allies which means that the WMDFZ fully corresponds to Russia’s national interests. Moscow is interested in removing WMD from the periphery of the Middle East”, authors state.

From the year 1995 Russia is working consistently to make a WMDFZ in the Middle East a reality, applied its efforts to remove chemical weapons from Syria and to prevent the appearance of another nuclear state in the region (Iran).

Authors stress that “Russia, however, cannot do homework for those who are responsible for the agenda, that is the region’s states duty. Security in the region is the concern of its countries. The Middle East is full of conflicts and peace is a rare guest there. The WMD stationed in the region have already caused catastrophes when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran. We should do everything to prevent catastrophic repetitions. It is even more important to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and military nuclear technologies in the Middle East.”


 

About the authors:

 

Natalia Artemenkova, attaché of Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, graduate of Dual Degree Program in Nonproliferation Studies (MGIMO-MIIS-PIR-Center).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vladimir Orlov, MGIMO professor, Director of the PIR Center, Head of the Center for Global Trends and International Organizations, Diplomatic Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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