Skip to main content

The Consultations in Glion and Geneva: A View from the Negotiating Table

Between 2013 and 2014, representatives from the Arab states, Iran and Israel met to discuss convening the Middle East weapons of mass destruction free zone (ME WMDFZ) Conference, which had been mandated by the 2010 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It was the first time since the 1990s that the states of this region discussed this issue face-to-face. The meetings took place mainly in Glion and Geneva, Switzerland and were facilitated by Ambassador Jaakko Laajava of Finland, and co-convened by the Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and United States, as well as the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This ME WMDFZ paper series presents first-hand personal reflections and lessons learned by those that participated in the meetings.


Wael Al Assad

Wael Al Assad was lead negotiator for the League of Arab States during the consultations in Glion and Geneva. Al Assad worked for over 45 years within the system of the League of Arab States. Since 2002, he was responsible for coordinating Arab positions on arms control and disarmament issues at different international forums, and proposing policies to Arab League’s decision taking bodies. From 2014 to 2018, he served as Ambassador of the League of Arab States to Austria and Permanent Observer to International Organisations in Vienna. Between 2013 and 2017, he served on the Advisory Board of the UNSG on Disarmament Matters. Between 2010 and 2014, he was the Representative of the Arab League Secretary-General for Disarmament and Regional Security.

Read the author's reflections here.

Thomas Countryman

Thomas M. Countryman represented the United States during the consultations in Glion and Geneva. Countryman was a career diplomat who served as United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation from September 27, 2011 to January 27, 2017. Prior to his position as Assistant Secretary, he served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, and as the Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.

Paper will be released soon.


Jeremy Issacharoff

Jeremy Issacharoff was the Chief Israeli representative and negotiator before and during the consultations in Glion and Geneva. He had been in the Israeli Foreign Service for 40 years and recently retired after serving as Israel’s Ambassador to Germany from 2017 to 2022. Before this, Issacharoff was the Vice-Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Head of the Multilateral Affairs Directorate, and Deputy-Director General for Strategic Affairs. He served abroad twice in Washington DC and once in the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN, in New York. He has the personal rank of Senior Ambassador and was appointed by the UN Secretary General to the Advisory Board for Disarmament in 2003.

Read the author's reflections here.


Angela Kane

Angela Kane, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs at the time, represented the United Nations during the consultations in Glion and Geneva. Kane has spent over 35 years working for the United Nations, both in New York and on the field, including in the roles of Under-Secretary-General for Management and Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.  She is currently Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Paris School of International Affairs. She serves as member of academic and civil society boards and is the Vice President of the International Institute for Peace in Vienna.

Read the author's reflections here.


Jaakko Laajava

Jaakko Laajava was appointed as the Facilitator of the 2012 ME WMDFZ Conference and led the consultations in Glion and Geneva. Laajava served as the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for Finland from 1 April 2010. Prior to that, he had a career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serving as Ambassador to the United Kingdom and United States, among others.

Read the author's reflections here.


Mikhail Ulyanov

Mikhail Ivanovich Ulyanov served as the Director of the Department for Non-proliferation and Arms Control at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Russian Federation from 2011 to 2018. In this capacity, he represented Russia in the “troika” of the co-conveners (alongside the United Kingdom and the United States) of the Conference on the Establishment of a ME WMDFZ that was scheduled to take place in accordance with the Final Document adopted at the 2010 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He currently serves as the Permanent Representative of Russia to International Organisations in Vienna.

Paper will be released soon.



This document contains the timeline of relevant events that occurred between 2010-2015.






Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone