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  • Position : Founder & Director
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Position : Attache, Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control
  • Affiliation : Russian Foreign Ministry
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A WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East: The Road Toward It as Seen From Moscow

Natalia Artemenkova, Vladimir Orlov

The Middle East remains one of the zones of high tension and instability in the contemporary world. Today, new challenges – e.g., international terrorism, the crises in Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Syria – are adding to the old and deeply rooted problems created by the Arab-Israeli conflict. The unresolved issue of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) increases regional destabilization even though the issue of a zone free from nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction (WMDFree Zone) in the region has been discussed by the international community for several decades now. So far, almost no results have been achieved in fulfillment of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East.

We should, however, admit that the year 2019 was marked by animportant event in the sphere of non-proliferation of WMD – the November UN Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction – which can be described as generally successful, at least much more successful than anticipated. This was the beginning of a new, no-nonsense and long-term progress toward the Middle East free from nuclear and other types of WMD.

What does this new process mean in the context of the approaching 2020 Review Conference (RC) on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)? To what extent will the positive effect of the November Conference cool the heat of discussions of the WMDFZ at the coming 2020 RC? What will these dynamics mean for Russia and its interests? Let us call a spade a spade – Russia is one of the key players here and one of long standing.

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The article was published in the International Affairs Journal.


The International Affairs Journal, March 2020