Middle East Regional Meeting of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament  

Cairo: 28-30 September 2009

The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament held its third regional meeting - for the Middle East - in Cairo, 28-30 September. Participation in the two day meeting included several Commissioners and a number of Advisory Board members. High level participants gathered from around the region from Governments, think tanks/academia and industry with major interests in Middle East regional nuclear matters. A full list of participants is attached.

The meeting was convened with the support and assistance of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. Discussion focused on the three pillars underlying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: pursuing nuclear disarmament, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and facilitating the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear technology to meet growing regional energy demand. The UN Security Council Resolution 1887 was widely cited as a common framework for taking forward the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament agenda.

In considering the global disarmament agenda, the meeting surveyed regional approaches to a range of specific measures: the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, the proposed treaty to ban production of nuclear weapons materials, and further cuts to existing nuclear weapon arsenals. Many participants welcomed the new undertakings of a number of key countries to revive disarmament processes. The meeting also examined various options for creating a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and what circumstances would facilitate such an outcome. Short of nuclear disarmament, there was lively debate over the possible shape and potential value of assurances by nuclear weapon states about non-use of nuclear weapons against countries without such weapons.

On preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons, the meeting considered a range of measures being considered to strengthen and universalise international standards. In particular, the meeting reviewed recent regional developments, including Iran’s announcements on its uranium enrichment program. The contribution of export controls, barriers to the illegal transfer of nuclear technology and materials, and strengthening the IAEA safeguards system was discussed.

The meeting was briefed on various national plans for considering the possible adoption of nuclear power to meet the Middle East’s expanding demand for electricity. Cost safety and security factors were explored including the potential for multilateral mechanisms to ensure supply while mitigating possible security concerns.

Under the auspices of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies and the American University of Cairo, Co-Chair Evans together with Commissioners and Advisory Board members participated in a seminar with a range of academics and media. This very well attended event was a further opportunity for the Commission to explain to a broader audience its ambitious but practical agenda for reducing then ultimately eliminating the role of nuclear weapons regionally and globally.

For detailed background on the Commission, an independent global panel established by the governments of Australia and Japan, see http://www.icnnd.org.

List of Meeting Participants in the Middle East Regional Meeting
Cairo, 28-30 September 2009

Mr Gareth Evans (Co-Chair – Australia), Mrs Yoriko Kawaguchi (Co-Chair – Japan), Prince Turki Al Faisal (Saudi Arabia), Dr Frene Noshir Ginwala (South Africa), Mr Francois Heisbourg (France), Baroness Shirley Williams (United Kingdom), Ambassador Wiryono Sastrohandoyo (Indonesia).

Ambassador Nobuyasu Abe (Japan), Professor Shlomo Ben-Ami (Israel), Ambassador Nabil Fahmy (Egypt), Dr Patricia Lewis (Ireland), Dr George Perkovich (United States).

Ambassador Idriss Jazairy (Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations, Geneva and Ambassador to the Holy See)

Ambassador Abdel Raouf El Reedy (Chairman, Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs)
Dr Ali Fahmy El-Saiedi (President, Energy Committee of Egypt’s National Democratic Party)
Dr Yassim Mohamed Ibrahim (Executive Chairman, Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority)
Ambassador Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Shaker (Vice Chairman, Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs)
Ambassador Khaled Shamaa (Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister, Director of Disarmament and Nuclear Power, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt)
Mr Mohamed Abdel Maksoud (Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies)
Dr Gamal Abdel Gawad Solton (Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies)
Dr Mohamed Abdel Salam (Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies)
Major General (ret) Dr Mohamed Kadry Said (Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies)
Dr Heidi Ghoneim (Center for Political and Strategic Studies).

Mr Nasser Saghafi-Ameri (Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic Research in Tehran)
Ambassador Ali Ashgar Soltanieh (Permanent Representative of Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency)

Dr Saad Tawfik (Professor, Baghdad University)

Mr Israel Nitzan-Tikochinski (Israeli Embassy, Cairo)
Ms Merav Zafary-Odiz (Director, Policy and Arms Control, Israel Atomic Energy Commission)

Dr Kamal Araj (Commissioner for International Cooperation of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission)
Dr Ayman Khalil (Director of the Arab Institute for Security Studies)

League of Arab States:
Ambassador Wael Al-Assad (Director of the Disarmament and Multilateral Relations Department)
Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Mr Bouchaib Eloumni (Head, Security and Disarmament Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation)

Professor Kamal Ben Younes (Executive Director of the International Studies Association)

Dr Arzu Celalifer Ekinci (International Strategic Research Organisation)

United Arab Emirates:
Ambassador Hamad Ali Al-Kaabi (Permament Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Foreign Ministry’s Special Representative for International Nuclear Cooperation)

For further information please contact ICNND Media Liaison Officer:
Leona Landers (Mobile: +61 2 421 588457).

Contact details

ICNND Secretariat, R G Casey Building, John McEwen Crescent, Barton ACT 0221, Australia - Tel: +61 2 6261 1111 - Fax: +61 2 6261 1003 - Email: icnnd@dfat.gov.au

Tokyo Office:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kasumigaseki 2-2-1 Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8919 Japan