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$enews_issue = "06";
$enews_date = "October/November 2012";
$enews_references = "$enews_date, Issue No. $enews_issue";
// EDITORIAL //
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The question of defining the notion of success when applied to a multilateral conference in the international security sphere is a complex one. It can be considered in three different ways:
At its most basic level, success can be measured relative to national positions, and thus in this case represents diplomatic success. When analyzing the history of the Zone free of WMD in the Middle East as a diplomatic process, one often feels like being part of a bubble within which success for one State party can constitute something as simple as the public use of one of its words in an official document. When one is part of that diplomatic bubble it is impossible to escape it. In this regard, success will always mean, “wording success”.
At a second level, success can be the collective non-failure of an event. For instance, the last NPT review conference was commonly perceived as a success because the conference was able to agree on a final document. This can be described as political success.
At a third level, a conference on a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East will somehow amount to a security success if it manages to address certain measures capable of enhancing the security relations between States in the region.
The second EU Non-Proliferation Consortium Seminar “to Promote Confidence Building and in Support of a Process Aimed at Establishing a Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Means of delivery in the Middle East”, that will take place in Brussels on the 5th and 6th November 2012, will not be a multilateral conference. It will rather be an academic event bringing together longstanding stakeholders in the Middle East WMDFZ project. Its success will be defined neither by wording nor by State positions, but instead its success will stem from an exchange of new ideas. 23 Seminar background papers, which aim to encourage this success, are now available on the dedicated Seminar webpage."; $editorial_signature="Benjamin Hautecouverture
doesn't have closing tag. */ $interview=" Last year, on July 6 and 7, was held the first EU Non-proliferation Consortium 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”, in Brussels. What were the 2011 Seminar challenges and successes?
The political circumstances in the Middle East are not all too conducive to fostering security cooperation: The crisis around the Iranian nuclear program, the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict and uncertainties in the wake of the “Arab spring” all cast their shadow over the discussions. And the parties had not discussed arms control issues after the failed multilateral talks in the nineties, that is, for about fifteen years. Measured against this starting point, the seminar went reasonably well. First of all, the majority of regional actors participated, including Israel, Iran, and Syria. Of course, participants uttered the mutual criticism that was to be expected; chairing the first session, I had a quite challenging but also exciting job! However, participants also engaged in good discussions about the relationship between the peace process, regional security, arms control, and nuclear disarmament in the region; they spelled out nicely their mutual expectations and the requirements for moving themselves. This mutual engagement rose as the proceedings went on. There was a feeling in the end that it was not a bad start and that more opportunities to discuss these matters might help.A new EU Non-Proliferation Consortium seminar will be held in Brussels, on November 5 and 6, 2012. What are your expectations for this year’s academic meeting?
If anything, the situation has become a bit more difficult due to regional developments. The Israeli-Palestinian situation remains stalemated, the Iranian crisis has become more acute, and – a new factor - the Syrian uncertainties loom very large. Nevertheless, a thorough scrutiny of options for confidence-building measures, including in the nuclear field, designed to help on the road towards a zone free of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction would be highly useful for exploring possibilities which could be explored further in the more formal diplomatic setting of the Helsinki conference.More generally speaking, what can an academic event contribute to such a politically and diplomatically sensitive international security debate?
In the end everything has to enter orderly diplomatic channels. It is thus clear that this sort of seminar, useful as it is, is of course no substitute to the functions of a meeting like the Helsinki conference. However, events outside of the structures of diplomatic protocol offer two major advantages and a smaller one. First, academics specialized in the issue at stake can insert ideas “out of the box” which would never made it into diplomatic debates without initial “testing” in an informal gathering. Second, participating diplomats can speak more freely without the risk of taking commitments. This allows for more daring exploration of possibilities. Thirdly, informal communications between parties who could not talk to each other officially might be possible at the margins of such a meeting. This sort of getting-together has always the potential of path-breaking, even if its impact becomes tangible only much later."; /* SIGNATURE Synthax: $Name
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