The Arab League has announced a plan to discuss the outlines of the international conference on the non-proliferation of WMDs which was to have taken place in Helsinki, 2012, but was cancelled under Israeli pressure.
The plan includes visits to New York, Washington, Geneva and London to consult with international officials about the Arab plan which has been already been discussed with the Finnish coordinator of the cancelled 2012 conference.
The announcement was issued by the director of the multilateral administration in the Arab League, Wael al-Assad. He made the announcement during a meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials in Arab Foreign Ministries which took place in Lebanon.
Al-Assad, who is in charge of the file on preventing the proliferation of WMDs in the Middle East, said that the Arabs will begin discussions after the upcoming Arab League Summit in Doha. By this time, the reasons for cancelling the Helsinki conference will have been thoroughly discussed.
According to Al-Assad, the Finnish coordinator presented the reasons for cancelling the Helsinki conference as well as some suggestions for a new one. Al-Assad said that the senior Arab officials expressed dissatisfaction with the reasons presented for the cancellation. "It was unjustified," he reported the officials as saying.
Al-Assad said that the Arab foreign ministers laid down a number of criteria for the upcoming conference and that they were insistent that these criteria are fulfilled if the conference is to be a success.
He also said that the officials spoke to the chair of the Arab Parliament, Ahmed al-Jerwan, who briefed them on the role the Arab Parliament could play on issues related to the conference.
Seeking an active role for civil society organisations, Al-Assad said that the senior officials had listened to representatives of 18 research and study centres specialised in security, strategy and disarmament.