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Blix warns in Qatar of "grave danger" from nuclear proliferation
March 21, 2012
Doha, Qatar - Hans Blix, the former chief UN weapons inspector for Iraq, has warned in Doha of the “grave danger” that Iran’s nuclear programme may lead other states in the region to follow the same course.
“More fingers on or near the nuclear trigger spells greater danger,” Dr Blix said on Wednesday at the opening of a conference on Nuclear Non-Proliferation in the Gulf. “A development leading to fewer fingers on or near nuclear triggers should also be considered.”
The two-day conference at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar has been organized by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) in association with the British and Qatari foreign ministries. Almost 50 distinguished US and European experts, as well as analysts, diplomats and officials from the region, are attending the event. The introductory session was open to students and staff at the School of Foreign Service which hosted a workshop on weapons of mass destruction earlier in the week.
The chairman of Qatar’s National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons, Brig-Gen Nassir al-Ali, addressing the opening session, said he hoped the conference would raise the profile of the Gulf Cooperation Council states in the area of non-proliferation. He said the fact that the Doha event was held in association with a nuclear weapon state and a non-nuclear weapon state “could show that cooperation is possible, rather than sticking to the line of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’,” in the context of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“We want to hear the views of the analysts and officials from the region to hear a different perspective than the drumbeat of war,” said BASIC Executive Director Paul Ingram.
The conference is being held the week before President Barack Obama meets with world leaders in South Korea for the second Nuclear Security Summit of his presidency, and the month before the resumption of the diplomatic cycle culminating in the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It also coincides with the run-up to a crucial new round of negotiations between Iran and the big powers grouped in the P5+1 aimed at reaching agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear programme.
Yesterday’s conference discussions also covered the future of nuclear power in the Persian Gulf one year after the Fukushima disaster.
In addition to Dr Blix, speakers at the event include Amb Thomas Pickering and Dr Jim Walsh from the United States, Mark Fitzpatrick from the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Amb Hamad Al-Kaabi from the UAE, senior analysts from the Gulf Research Center, as well as leading Egyptian and Jordanian experts.
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Blix’s speech can be read on BASIC’s Conference event page
Details and photos of the opening session will be available on the Georgetown University Doha website.