League of Arab States Council Statement on Postponement of the ME WMD FZ ConferencePosted: March 5, 2013
A friend sent me this unofficial translation of the LAS Council’s January 13th statement regarding the cacellation/postponement of the 2012 Helsinki conference, which was to be a major step in the effort to conclude a Middle East WMD Free Zone. Readers will recall that I have posted on this development and its significance previously here, here and here. This statement is extremely important and shows, among other things, how the Arab League states quite reasonably link this issue to the very core of their commitment to the NPT regime.
Positions of the Arab States on the postponement of the 2012 Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction
The Council of the League of Arab States met in an extraordinary session at the ministerial level at headquarters on 13 January 2013.
– Having considered,
- A note by the Secretariat; and
- The recommendations of the “Fifteenth meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials of the Foreign Ministries on the preparations of the Secretariat for the participation of all Arab States in the 2012 Conference, as called for in the final document of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”, which was held on 12 January 2013;
- The Council considers the postponement of the 2012 Helsinki Conference a breach of the obligations of the conveners of the Conference vis-a-vis the international community regarding the implementation of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East and the implementation of the final document of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
- The Council rejected the justification provided by some of the conveners and holds them responsible for the delay and its consequences for the international community.
- The Council instructed the Committee of Senior Officials to continue to communicate with the conveners and the facilitator to set a new date for the Conference, as early as possible and before the start of the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
- The Council also instructed the Committee to continue its engagement with geographical and political groups to rally support for the Conference and to take other steps deemed appropriate in this connection.
- The Council has also instructed the Committee to request the facilitator to continue of bilateral consultations with the parties concerned on the basis of the current formula. The Committee should consider the proposal to participate in extended consultations with regional parties, in accordance with the terms of reference agreed upon in the Action Plan for the Middle East in the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, including the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East, which is the basis of the 2012 Conference, and based on the following criteria, which would guarantee the interests of the Arab States:
- The establishment of a set date for the Conference;
- The consultations must be held under the auspices of the United Nations and with a set agenda; and
- Those countries that formally announce their participation in the Conference can attend in the consultations.
- In the event that a date is not set for the convening of the Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction at the earliest opportunity, the Arab states will determine what steps could be taken, in all disarmament forums, including at the second and third sessions of the Preparatory Committee as well as at the 2015 NPT Review Conference and request the Committee of Senior Officials to develop a comprehensive action plan for the coming period, including additional steps to be taken, and to report to the Council at its next regular ministerial session.
- The Arab League Council at the ministerial level also requested the Secretary General of the Arab League to communicate with the Secretary-General of the United Nations to inform him the position of the Arab States, and to urge him to carry out the international organization’s responsibilities and to play an active role.
- The Council decided that this issue will be on the agenda of its next regular ministerial session.