in Titles if necessary */ $editorial_body="What constitutes a setback?

Towards the end of summer in 2012, a rumour started to swell in both the Middle East and Europe that the Conference scheduled to take place in Helsinki on the thorny subject of a Weapons-of-Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East might be postponed. Many people started to caution that should this indeed prove to be the case it would amount to a diplomatic setback.

The Helsinki Conference could not have taken place at the end of 2012 for a certain number of evident reasons that do not call into question either diplomacy or any particular country. The political turbulence apparent in the Middle East, the worsening of the Iranian nuclear crisis, and the Israeli perception of growing insecurity are all reasons enough to necessitate the postponement of the conference, insofar as to ensure that the event is a productive one.

In this context, it is remarkable that the EU’s support for a WMDFZ in the Middle East has not wavered. The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium was thus able to organise two international seminars in Brussels in July 2011 and November 2012, which were resounding successes, both in terms of the quality of the debate and the operational proposals put forward. All of the documentation pertaining to these two events can be freely accessed on a dedicated page of the Consortium’s website.

While the Helsinki Conference Facilitator, Ambassador Laajava, will resume his consultations at the start of the new year, it is worth recalling that the majority of efforts undertaken to avoid a setback are concentrated in Europe. The postponement of the Helsinki Conference is a hiccup but not a setback. Besides, irrespective of the EU's support for the Zone project, it is up to the States in the Middle-East to establish the necessary means to open negotiations.

"; $editorial_signature=" Benjamin Hautecouverture
EU Non-Proliferation Consortium / Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS) "; // INTERVIEW // ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /* ADD
in quote if necessary */ $quote="PISM research is meant to generate new ideas"; $hat=" The PISM is the largest Polish strategic research centre and at the heart of the new security issues in which Poland is a stakeholder, notably via the matters of missile defence and the fight against proliferation. "; $biography=" Marcin Zaborowski is Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM). Prior to that, he directed the transatlantic programme at the EUISS in Paris, was a lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Aston University, and directed the Transatlantic Programme at the Centre for International Relations in Warsaw. His fields of expertise include EU security policy and integration processes, transatlantic relations, and international security. "; /* COLUMNS Synthax: $Question? Column1 and Colum2 : the last

doesn't have closing tag. */ $interview=" What are Poland's and PISM's interest in non-proliferation and arms control issues?

Poland is aware that global threats related to WMD proliferation affect its security, and therefore supports international efforts in this area. The promotion of arms control measures related to conventional arms and non-strategic nuclear weapons is more specifically related to our geographic location. There are limits on how much Warsaw can do alone but we can be very effective when acting with like-minded countries, for example, in the PSI framework or through the NPT-focused Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI). Other opportunities arise through our membership in the European Union, NATO and OSCE.

Regarding PISM’s research activities, we realize that traditional approaches to non-proliferation and arms control may no longer be adequate. PISM research is meant not only to provide a deeper understanding of the current challenges but also to generate some new ideas. The Institute cooperates with partners in Europe, Russia and the United States, but it attaches particular attention to strengthening regional relationships with Central European think tanks and experts dealing with these issues.

In the context of NATO–Russia relations, what are the main challenges related to non-strategic nuclear weapons and missile defence, from a Polish point of view?

As Russia’s neighbour, Poland is obviously interested in resolving the issues that negatively affect NATO–Russia relations and result in tough rhetoric and military posturing. The main challenge is to use wisely the arms control and confidence-building instruments at our disposal to improve the situation.

On non-strategic nuclear weapons, we hope they can be included in the next round of the U.S.–Russia talks. Meanwhile, we should commence the dialogue at the NATO–Russia Council on the transparency and confidence-building measures to be applied to these categories of weapons.

Territorial missile defence is already becoming part of NATO’s “mix of capabilities”. Poland is supporting this development and has agreed to host a base of SM-3 interceptors to defend Europe against limited ballistic missile threats. On a parallel track, though, we must try to address the Russian concerns. We should be ready to offer a high degree of transparency measures related to the missile defence systems, having in mind of course the requirements of reciprocity.

The PSI was born in Kraków in 2003. How would you assess the mechanism on the eve of its 10-year anniversary?

It is a source of pride that the initiative was launched in Poland, but it also brings increased responsibilities. Warsaw has been an active PSI participant, as a member of the Operational Experts Group and an organiser of exercises and outreach activities.

PSI has evolved into a vehicle for cooperation and experience-sharing, and the critics who feared that it would be used to breach international law have been proved wrong. Still, PSI’s success is somehow qualified. We obviously lack the means to objectively assess its effectiveness because of the delicate nature of the interdiction operations. Some significant actors are still not involved in PSI and there are gaps in both the national legislations of the PSI participants and in the international legal frameworks.

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

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