in Titles if necessary */ $editorial_body="

Less than two months after its Kick-Off Meeting (see No. 1), the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium organised, with the support of the EU (Council decision 210/799/CFSP), a seminar “to promote confidence building and in support of a process aimed at establishing a zone free of WMD and means of delivery in the Middle East”, which took place in Brussels on the 6th and 7th July 2011.

The event, which was conducted under the Chatham House rule, brought together nearly 200 experts and diplomats from almost all the States in the Middle East and the EU, as well as China, the United States, Russia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey, and from various regional and international organisations. The wide scope of participants represents, in itself, the first element of the event’s success, a fact that highlights the importance that States attach to the issue of a WMDFZ in the Middle East, nigh on 40 years after the first diplomatic initiative in this respect.

The quality of the exchanges throughout the two days comprises the second remarkable aspect of the seminar. The 8 background papers published in preparation for the seminar are already available on the Consortium’s website, along with the seminar’s agenda and the final assessment by Camille Grand, the Consortium’s Chairman.

I hope you enjoy reading this month’s issue.

"; $editorial_signature=" Benjamin Hautecouverture
EU Non-Proliferation Consortium / Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS) "; // INTERVIEW // ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /* ADD
in quote if necessary */ $quote="Concerned states will need to be realistic about what is achievable."; $hat=" The idea of a zone free of weapons of mass-destruction in the Middle East, recently debated by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium seminar, could be useful if it is not hijacked. "; $biography=" Mark Fitzpatrick is the Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the IISS. Mr. Fitzpatrick came to the IISS in 2005, after a distinguished 26-year career in the US Department of State, where for the previous ten years he focused on non-proliferation issues. "; /* COLUMNS Synthax: $Question? Column1 and Colum2 : the last

doesn't have closing tag. */ $interview = " In your view, what are the prospects of a WMDFZ being established in the Middle East?

To make a reality out of the ideal of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East will require realism about the essential conditions. At a minimum, a far greater sense of mutual security and trust must be established among the key players. There is a long way to go to establish these conditions and in some respects the trend has been negative. Witness the recent cases of IAEA safeguards non-compliance on the part of several states in the region. But the importance of the goal is good reason not to be fatalistic about the prospects. Movement toward a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction is intimately connected with the 1995 indefinite extension of the NPT. For that reason alone -- and there are others -- states should strive for the ideal.

What were the EU Seminar’s contributions to this process?

By fostering an unfettered discussion of both the goal and the necessary conditions, the EU seminar helped the process in two key ways. Firstly, it showed that all states in the region can come together to exchange views on the range of relevant issues. Although the speeches and interventions sometimes had to be heard with an ear to what was being said between the lines, there were signs of probing efforts to seek accommodation. Secondly, the seminar demonstrated the attention that other states, beginning with EU members, attach to the matter. Overall, the seminar gave momentum to the movement toward the ideal.

Henceforth, what do you deem to be the key steps of the process in order for it to be successful?

The next step is to prepare for a conference in 2012, as called for at the 2010 NPT Review Conference final document. For the prospective conference to be held at all, and for it to be successful, concerned states will need to be realistic about what is achievable. It is not possible today, for example, to begin negotiations on a zone or to accord the UN a semi-permanent role in promoting this ideal. States that hold out for impossible steps and refuse to accept what is achievable will bear the onus if a conference cannot be successfully held in 2012.

In your opinion, what can we expect in this regard from certain key States in the region?

To be frank, it is not clear that any of the key states in the region really wants a conference to be held in 2012. Instead, some states have appeared at times to be keener on apportioning blame for lack of progress. If states in the region really do want a conference to be held, they should be more cooperative with the NPT depositories (Russia, UK and US) in their efforts to create consensus about the host and the facilitator. Disingenuous comments were made at the end of the EU seminar that questioned whether consultations had been held on these matters. Whatever purpose was behind these theatrics, they left a sour note that does not contribute to moving forward.

"; /* SIGNATURE Synthax: $Name
$NameofTheThinkTank ($ACRONYM), $City */ $signature=" François Pélabon
Research Assistant
Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), Paris "; $interview .= "

Interview conducted by ".$signature; ?> The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium - Enewsletter, - Page 1