Objectives and Strategies for a Successful Finland Conference
Hillel Schenker – Horizon 2012 – March 23
Hillel Schenker is Co-Editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal (www.pij.org)
Components for a Successful Conference
1) Comedian Groucho Marx once said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”
Contrary to this wisdom – The first and most important component of success is that everyone from the region will attend, including Israel and Iran.
2) The second key to success is that it be the beginning of a process, and not just a one-time ad-hoc event.
3) The key to ensuring that it be a process, with a chance of eventual success, is that the conference should have two tracks.
The ACRS (Arms Control and Regional Security Working Group) talks between 1992-1995 broke down over the question of which came first – the chicken or the egg – The Egyptians said a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the ME, and the Israelis said Comprehensive Israeli-Arab Peace.
The way to overcome this bind – parallel tracks:
1) Creating a Road Map for steps towards the creation of a Nuclear and WMD Free Zone in the Middle East;
2) Creating a Road Map for steps towards the achievement of comprehensive Israeli-Arab peace.
4) The Arab Peace Initiative (API), which offers Israel peace and normal relations based upon a withdrawal from the occupied territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, alongside the State of Israel can be a key tool to enable both processes to move forward (though it did not mention WMD).
5) The conference should also consist of parallel forums:
a) One governmental
b) One civil society
6) The governmental forum should create a mechanism for ongoing communication between government representatives, after the conference, perhaps hosted or facilitated on a permanent basis by Finland
7) The civil society forum should also create a mechanism for ongoing communication between civil society representatives from throughout the region.
8) Within the civil society forum, the concept of a Civil Society Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Middle East(CSCME), which began as a formal concrete initiative with a preliminary conference in January 2011 in Germany, with the participation of representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Iran, Turkey and Kuwait, should be introduced and developed.
A follow-up CSCME conference was held in London in October, 2011, with participants from the region and other interested parties. Based upon the CSCE (Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe) which contributed to the end of the Cold War, the development of guidelines for a CSCME could be an important cornerstone in the development of both a Nuclear and WMD Free Zone in the Middle East, and Israeli-Arab comprehensive peace.
Finland to host 2012 talks on setting up nuclear-weapon-free zone in Middle East
My goal – our goal – is to make the whole world a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
The May 2010 review meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – which takes place every five years – called for a UN-sponsored conference in 2012 to establish a nuclear-free Middle East to be attended by all States in the region.
Ahead of the 2010 meeting, Mr. Ban had called for the number of nuclear-weapon-free zones to multiply and ultimately span the globe. “My goal – our goal – is to make the whole world a nuclear-weapon-free zone,” he stated, calling such zones the “success stories of the disarmament movement.”
Currently, there are five such zones: Latin America and the Caribbean; the South Pacific; South-East Asia; Central Asia; and Africa.