№ 1, 2024. We’ve heard the gossip that the Middle East WMD-Free Zone cannot be established without Pakistan and, perhaps, Türkiye

March 12, 2024

Gossip Column

Ambassador Roland M. Timerbaev was one of the authors of the NPT and founders of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, a Soviet and Russian Ambassador, and our colleague at PIR Center for many years (1994–2010). He often became bored and restless at major international conferences because he did not like to listen to the platitudes that were often repeated there and was very happy to have coffee breaks. It was live communication with real people — exactly what he really valued — and the opportunity to learn the latest news, as well as unconfirmed information and “expert gossip” in the corridors, on the sidelines, over coffee… At such moments, Ambassador Timerbaev would joyfully say: “Well, now is the time for some good gossip”.

Hence the title of this column. PIR Center is not responsible for the accuracy of what our employees and authors heard in the corridors and on the margins of the conferences and told us without reference to the source. Although we know what are these sources.

We’ve heard the gossip that some actors in the Middle East region, when discussing the real possibility of establishing a Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction, have recently suggested that the boundaries of the proposed zone should be expanded. Such a Zone cannot be created without Pakistan and, perhaps, Türkiye. They do not say whether these two states should be invited to participate in the dialogue on the Middle East WMD-Free Zone or whether it will be enough to invite them to sign the protocols for the Zone when it is ready.

Cool! Of course, “pass the buck” on Pakistan is like an attempt to “delay forever” the Middle East WMD-Free Zone issue and conceal the fact that in the region there is one state that avoids any form of dialogue on the Zone. And this state is well known to all… However, a new perspective has emerged. Or Türkiye. It is quite related to the Middle East; and to nuclear weapons too (it has them on its territory).

Read on the topic:

  1. Artemenkova Natalia, Orlov Vladimir. A WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East: The Road Toward It as Seen From Moscow. // The International Affairs. 2020. № 3. С. 4-23. URL: https://en.interaffairs.ru/media/pdf/contents66_3.pdf
  2. Timerbaev R. Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World: Ways of Moving Ahead // Security Index. 2020. Vol. 15. № 2 (87). P. 97-106. URL: https://pircenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World.-Ways-of-Moving-Ahead.pdf
  3. Timerbaev R. What are the prospects for establishing a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East? // Yaderny Kontrol. 1995. № 12 (12). P. 7-11. URL: https://pircenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Насколько-реально-создание-безъядерной-зоны-на-Ближнем-Востоке-№-12-12-декабрь-1995.pdf
  4. Shestakova Sofia. The Second Session of the Conference on the Establishment of WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East: Results and Prospects. // Ed. by E. Chobanyan. M.: PIR-Press, 2022. – 18 p. (Security Index Occasional Paper Series). URL: https://pircenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/22-04-28-INF-SI-RUS-%E2%84%9612-38-2022.pdf
  5. White Paper «Ten Steps toward a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone in the Middle East». M.: PIR Center, 2013. – 20 p. URL: https://pircenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Белая-книга-ЗСОМУ-на-БВ-2013.pdf

Key words: Middle East WMDFZ; Nuclear Nonproliferation


E16/MIN – 24/03/12