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Pugwash Conversations on the Syrian Crisis

During the weekend of March 1, 2014, Pugwash Secretary General Paolo Cotta-Ramusino held a series of private conversations in Dubai with Syrians and international experts concerning potential avenues for Track II ideas for defusing and resolving the Syrian crisis. Report available.

Pugwash Consultation on Geneva II, 28 January 2014, Geneva

Pugwash held a consultation to discuss possible contributions to resolving the ongoing conflict in Syria. The meeting involved current and former policy makers and a range of regional, legal, humanitarian, and chemical weapons experts from NGOs, civil society, and academia. This is the second in a planned series of meeting on related topics.

Former foreign secretary S. Ahmad, Lt.Gen (ret) T. Masood, Acting Foreign Minister S. Aziz, and Pugwash Secretary General P. Cotta-Ramusino

On 15-17 September 2013, Pugwash convened a meeting in Islamabad on issues related to Jammu and Kashmir, in cooperation with the Islamabad-based Center for Peace, Development and Reforms.  Fifty-five participants from both sides of the Line of Control and from different political parties and groups discussed ways to improve in concrete terms the connections across the LOC, options for eliminating the restrictions that limit the movement and the freedom of the people in the entire region, and prospect to promote economic cooperation and development in the entire region.

Pugwash Consultation on the Syrian Crisis, London, 27 June 2013.

The meeting explored a current overview of the conflict, claims of chemical weapons use, policy options and questions raised by the sending of arms to the various sides in the conflict, and ways in which to increase prospects for a negotiated settlement.  The goal was to determine what, if anything, can be done by the international community and through additional Track II dialogue. 

US-Palestine Relations”, 14 March 2013, Ramallah, Palestine (pdf available - 604.6 KB pdf)

Pugwash brought a small delegation of Americans to Ramallah in the days preceding the visit of US President Obama to Israel and Palestine.  The purpose of the visit was to explore Palestinian concerns and priorities, and to seek a longer-term vision of how the US-Palestinian relationship might improve.  The visit included a series of private meetings with eminent Palestinian political leaders, and a small roundtable discussion with a mix of decision-makers, political leaders, business entrepreneurs, and leaders from the NGO and civil rights communities.

Ways Forward on the Iranian Nuclear Issue,” 28 February 2013, Washington, DC (pdf available - 610.6 KB pdf)

The meeting took place immediately following the first round of Almaty negotiations. Concern was expressed that if dynamics do not change both sides might miss opportunities to find a solution to the controversies. 

Summary of the Pugwash meeting on Afghan reconciliation, Dubai, 15-17 January 2013 (PDF available) 

This sequel to our September 2012 meeting was Afghan-led and involved a range of participants from key groups who took part in their personal capacities.  (Dari pdf 512.5 KB) (Pashto pdf 505.9 KB)

Photo:  Amb. Sergey Batsanov, Amb. François Nicoullaud, Amb. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Prof. Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Mr. Jean-Paul Chagnollaud, Sir Richard Dalton.

Pugwash Consultation on “The Iranian Nuclear Debate,” Paris, France, 8 December 2012 (PDF available)

The meeting explored the need for strong political leadership to pursue a concerted effort at negotiations and Track-II dialogue without waiting for upcoming Iranian elections.  

Comment from Finnish Pugwash members: "A Nuclear Free Middle East – Finland´s time to make a change?"  (December 2012). (PDF available) 

This piece highlights Finland's unique opportunity to make an impact as the facilitator of the Middle East Conference following the postponement of the meeting.  

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and former director of the Mossad Efraim Halevy

“Iran Nuclear Standoff,” Tel Aviv, Israel, 7-8 September 2012. This two-day workshop was the ninth in a series of Pugwash workshops devoted to the Iranian nuclear issue held in Israel. This workshop involved 34 participants from 7 countries, including very senior participants from Israel and Russia, officials from various embassies and other experts. The meeting explored concerns, options and opportunities relating to the Iranian nuclear program in the context of the Israeli domestic scene and in light of regional and international developments (including Syria). A critique of negotiations to date and prospects for a Middle East WMD Free Zone also were addressed

“US-Pakistan Relations.”  Islamabad, Pakistan, 19 September 2012.  (PDF available.) This meeting identified salient issues in Pakistan-US relations and the impact of war in Afghanistan and possible future outcomes.  Participants included current and former senior policy makers, military and intelligence figures and other experts.  This is part of a planned series of meetings that will include discussions in Washington, DC.

Seminar on issues related to the peace and dialogue in Afghanistan and possible future compromises.”  Dubai, UAE, 22-23 September 2012.
Participants came from Afghanistan - belonging to different groups - and from the UN, as well as from other countries.  The representatives of the Taliban defined themselves as observers. (Report also available in Pashto and Dari)

Amb P. Jenkins, Lord Howell

“Avoiding the Winds of War & Assessing Prospects for a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East.” London, England, 12 September 2012. This half-day consultation explored concerns, options and opportunities relating to the Iranian nuclear program. Prospects for negotiations and the planned Helsinki meeting on a Middle East WMD Free Zone also were addressed. Participants included current and former senior advisors to the UK government, along with embassy officials and other experts.

“Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East.” Beirut, Lebanon, 10 September 2012. (PDF available) Participants in this workshop discussed a WMD free zone, nuclear proliferation and proliferation risks.

Participants, Yad Hashmona, Israel

Yad Hashmona, Israel, 15-16 June 2012, “The Iranian Nuclear Issue and a Middle East WMD-Free Zone.
This workshop addressed issues raised by the Iranian nuclear program, prospects for negotiations, and the possibility of a military attack on Iranian facilities.  It also explored the prospects for the proposed 2012 conference on a Middle East WMD-Free Zone.  The complicated and changing regional environment and domestic pressures in key countries provided a backdrop for discussions.

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Matthias Mossberg, Taghreed El-Khodary

Gaza, 2-5 February 2012, “The Future of Gaza in a Changing Middle East.”  This report summarizes prospects for Gaza in light of the “Arab Spring” and increasing threats of a regional war.  It is based on a visit of an international delegation, with a central focus on a two-day workshop and a series of private meetings involving key local leaders.

Washington, DC, 23 February 2012. “Prospects for Diplomacy with Iran,”As the drumbeats for possible military action increase, this meeting explored possible technical and diplomatic solutions to the crisis over the Iranian nuclear program.

Amb. Svein Sevje, Norway’s ambassador to Israel, provides opening remarks.

Herzliya, Israel, 6 January 2012, “Roundtable on the Nuclear Program of Iran.” Participants explored the development of Iran’s nuclear program, its impact on Israel’s security, increasing threats of a possible military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, and prospects for a negotiated settlement.

Participants included Dr. Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (3rd from the right) who was later arrested by Israeli authorities and held in administrative detention for 6 months without trial.  We are very pleased that he was freed on 19 July 2012.  However, we note with regret that contrary to basic human rights many other Palestinian MPs are still held by the State of Israel without trial under administrative detention.  (PCR)

Ramallah, Palestine, 7 January 2012, “Iran, the Arab Spring and Palestine.” Participants explored the nuclear file of Iran, the dangers posed by possible future military action against Iranian nuclear facilities, reconciliation efforts among Palestinian parties and current strategies emphasizing non-violent approaches.

Paolo Cotta-Ramusino (Italy); H.E. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Iran); H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Turkey); Prof. Bulent Aras (Turkey)

The 60th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, “Dialogue, Disarmament, and Regional and Global Security” will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, 1-5 November 2013. The conference will bring together from around the world approximately 200 leading current and former policy makers, scientists, and other international opinion shapers to explore creative solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems.  Further information is available here.

Statement on the Interim Iran Agreement by Amb. Jayantha Dhanapala (Sri Lanka), Pugwash President, Prof. Paolo Cotta-Ramusino (Italy), Pugwash Secretary General, Prof. Saideh Lotfian (Iran), Chair of the Pugwash Council, Dr. Steve Miller (USA), Chair of the Pugwash Executive Committee, 27 November 2013,- (pdf available 84.6 KB))

Statement regarding Syria Crisis by Pugwash President Dhanapala and Secretary General Cotta-Ramusino, 29 August 2013 - (pdf available 84.6 KB), statement available in spanish (193.7 KB pdf)

Statement on the Arms Trade Treaty, Pugwash President Jayantha Dhanapala and Pugwash Secretary General Paolo Cotta-Ramusino
4 April 2013 - (pdf available 288.7 KB)


This proposed agreed framework is meant to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive agreement between all the involved partners.  We hope that this might help in finding a constructive compromise that would respect the rights and the concerns of all parties.

Statement from Pugwash President Jayantha Dhanapala and Pugwash Secretary General Paolo Cotta-Ramusino on the DPRK nuclear test and the need for total prohibition, peace negotiations & disarmament 13 February 2013 (PDF available)

Statement of the Pugwash Executive Committee on the Postponement of the Helsinki Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (MEWMDFZ) 25 November 2012 - (PDF also available)

Jayantha Dhanapala, Pugwash President

Comment from Pugwash President:
Need for Dialogue to Resolve Iranian Nuclear Issue -
(95.9 KB pdf also available) 11 June 2012

Pugwash President and Secretary General Call for Leaders at RIO PLUS 20 to “Remember Your Humanity” (138.2 KB pdf available) 11 June 2012

Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Secretary General

From the Desk of the Secretary General, 27 March 2012, “Focus on Iran and the Middle East

Correspondence regarding Iranian nuclear scientists

“The Iranian Nuclear Controversy: Escaping the Winds of War,” by Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, February 2012

19 December 2011, by Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Secretary General and Jayantha Dhanapala, President

Recommendations of the Steering Committee of the Pugwash Study Group on the Implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions for the Seventh Review Conference of the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.  6 December 2011, Geneva, Switzerland

33rd Workshop of the Pugwash Study Group on the Implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions: Achieving Realistic Decisions at the Seventh BWC Review Conference in 2011. Geneva, Switzerland, 3-4 December 2011

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