Gulf delegates back WMD-free zone

DUBAI — A two-day workshop on the Gulf Research Centre’s initiative to promote the creation of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Gulf (GWMDFZ) was jointly held by the Dubai-based GRC and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in the Swedish capital last week.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 11 Jun 2005, 10:41 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:57 PM

The meeting concluded with positive support for the project from all the Gulf governmental delegates in attendance, including Iraq and Iran, as well as key international bodies and organisations. Seen as an innovative and completely novel idea aimed towards stabilising the current security crisis in the Gulf, the GWMDFZ project was hailed as a positive step in the right direction.

“The workshop forms part of an initiative launched by the GRC in December 2004 to promote the creation of a Gulf WMDFZ — an idea which is rapidly gaining regional support,” GRC Chairman Abdulaziz Sager said.

The first workshop, a closed door meeting held in Dubai in December, laid this new idea on the table for discussion amongst regional delegates, international WMD experts as well as representatives from several international bodies and organisations. The Stockholm workshop, co-hosted by SIPRI as part of the European Unions’ efforts to support cooperation with its neighbours in tackling WMD challenges, both at the state and non-state level, developed the idea further and provoked serious policy questions on the future of Gulf security.

It was attended by high level and official representation from the majority of the Gulf States as well as Nato, the EU and the IAEA. The meeting outlined the importance of a sub-regional approach to the current security problems in the Middle East. The future role of Iraq as a key component of Gulf security and Iraq’s experience of having a WMD programme was outlined by the National Security Adviser of Iraq, Dr Mowffaq Al Rubaie.

The case for a GWMDFZ as a vital security component of any future Middle East security architecture was discussed for the first time. The positions of regional governments, the US, the EU and Nato to this proposal were outlined and discussed with affirmations that the GWMDFZ project had the support of the international community. The meeting concluded with an announcement by the GRC of their intention to hold a regional meeting of key government delegates to push the process forward to an official regional level.

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