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UNA-UK releases second Towards Zero Briefing Report
Entitled 'Towards a more secure and WMD-free Middle East', UNA-UK's latest Towards Zero report was written by Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.
About the latest Towards Zero Briefing Report
Although it is still a distant dream, the rationale for creating a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction has never been stronger. If established and faithfully implemented – two big 'ifs' indeed – a Zone banning all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles would be an answer to the Iranian nuclear crisis; remove the sense of double standards over Israel's nuclear programme; address the threat posed by chemical weapons programmes in Syria and elsewhere; and mitigate one of the dangers associated with introducing nuclear energy in the region. It would also represent the next stage in an expanding network of nuclear-weapon-free zones that now encompasses all land areas in the Southern Hemisphere.
In many ways, however, the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons in the Middle East seems as distant now as it did 35 years ago, when the Zone was first proposed. While every such Zone requires complicated issues to be addressed, three factors multiply the complexity of these challenges in the Middle East: the history of conflict and tension in the region, the asymmetry of nuclear capabilities, and the absence of inclusive regional institutions.
These obstacles notwithstanding, the international community has undertaken a renewed effort to promote the Zone. A key outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference was an agreement to hold a conference on this issue in 2012. This report explores how that conference can make progress towards a nuclear-free Middle East.
About the first Towards Zero Briefing report
UNA-UK's first Towards Zero Briefing Report examines whether the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is fit for purpose, and was written for UNA-UK by Dr John Simpson. Until 2008 Dr Simpson was founding Director of the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies at the University of Southampton and Professor of International Relations at that university. He is now one of its Emeritus Professors. In 1999 he was awarded an OBE for "services to nuclear non-proliferation".
About Towards Zero
Our flagship Towards Zero programme builds on our historic role as a leading campaigner for nuclear non-proliferation and multilateral disarmament. The five strands of the programme are: influencing decisions-makers and opinion-shapers in the UK; working with key individuals and organisations in other nuclear-weapon states; collaborating with experts on policy options; and re-establishing nuclear disarmament as a central issue for young people.