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The University of Southampton

Southampton researcher joins international WMD discussions

Published: 27 January 2005

Southampton academic Dr Mark Smith has been invited to take part in a top-level meeting of the international WMD Commission, which will discuss the control of weapons of mass destruction at its Fourth Meeting, to be held in Cairo next week (31 Jan - 2 Feb). The Commission is headed by Dr Hans Blix, the former head of weapons inspection for the United Nations.

Dr Smith, from the University's Mountbatten Centre for International Studies, will make a presentation on the future of efforts to control the spread of missiles capable of carrying WMD.

"This is the latest round in a series of collaborations between the University and the Commission," he said. "It will be fascinating to contribute to the discussions and discover high-level international opinion on arms control after the war in Iraq. I believe the international community ought to work towards regional solutions, rather than global ones, to the problems we confront in the spread of WMD-capable missiles."

He intends to cover the basis on which to establish international norms on missiles, the role of missile defence as a disincentive to proliferation, the question of whether regional or global mechanisms are likely to be most effective, and the problems encountered by recent efforts to establish global dialogue on missile proliferation.

Chaired by Dr Hans Blix, the WMD Commission comprises 15 members, representing a wide geographical and political base. The Commissioners discuss the issues, assess a range of expert studies and will contribute their analyses, thoughts and proposals to the collective work of the Commission, which will be presented in its Final Report to the UN Secretary-General in early 2006.

Notes for editors

The WMD Commission's mandate includes the proliferation and possession of nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons, and the means of delivering them, such as missiles, along with terrorism-related issues and ways of preventing the acquisition and use of these devastating weapons. It also aims to develop realistic proposals for the greatest possible reduction of the dangers of weapons of mass destruction, including both short-term and long-term approaches and both non-proliferation and disarmament aspects.

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