Hosted in collaboration with the Center of Information and Arabian-Russian Studies (CIARS), this workshop of officials and international and regional experts in the field of nuclear diplomacy and strategic security discussed the strategic balance in the region, the evolution of deterrence relationships, the development of non- proliferation commitments and credible assurances surrounding them.
It bridged the gap between strategic and non-proliferation policy, and focus on the need to emphasize transparent and credible assurances surrounding nuclear safeguards, safety and security, through mechanisms such as nuclear regulations, shared facilities, inspections and guaranteed fuel supply. This event followed on from previous meetings hosted by BASIC to discuss issues of nuclear non-proliferation and strategic deterrence involving officials and experts from Gulf states, Iran, Europe and the United States.
There is a good deal of attention right now on negotiations with Iran and its implications for shifting relationships. But nuclear proliferation risks are not the only concern. States on both sides of the Gulf are in the early stages of a major expansion in their nuclear power programs, which also brings up questions of nuclear safety and security. It is crucial that countries bordering the Gulf move forward in a manner that provides assurance over intent and safety of these programs, or the consequences could be disastrous, in terms of cooperation, GCC cohesion and strategic stability.
The premise of the meeting was that nuclear safeguards, safety and security are common interests and can be used to deepen regional dialogue and strengthen commitments to and procedures underlying nuclear non-proliferation, which in turn can provide important dividends for strategic security. All these regional states have their international obligations, entered into because they see the security benefits to be had from mutual restraint. But those advantages could quickly erode if trust is squandered and as pressures build as a result of the acquisition and development of nuclear dual-use technologies.
A report on the meeting will follow in the coming weeks.