Press Contacts: Miles Pomper, (202) 463-8270 x108; Oliver Meier, in Berlin +49 171 359 2410
(Washington, D.C.): "Arms Control Today's" international correspondent Oliver Meier sat down recently with EU nonproliferation chief Annalisa Giannella to discuss Europe's nonproliferation and security policies and future directions. The interview came as the European Union and three of its member states geared up for a new round of negotiations with Iran. "Arms Control Today" is published by the Arms Control Association.
On Iran, Giannella notes that if Iran's actions were to lead to a referral to the UN Security Council, it would not necessarily mean immediate sanctions. She states, "The Council, of course, is a new process. Everybody knows that the Security Council can adopt sanctions, but also the Security Council can decide to encourage...negotiations. The Security Council is a process. It's not a one-shot event."
Still, she says that Iran would be worse off if the present European-Iranian negotiations collapse. "The negotiations that are underway are, in my opinion, a very good chance for Iran to get out from the difficult situation. So, Iran should not underestimate the fact that if it misses this opportunity, everything will be more difficult," Giannella warns.
The EU nonproliferation chief further notes that the EU proposal takes Iran's position into consideration. She explains, "We take into account the fact that Russia has already concluded a contract with Iran for the supply of fuel for Bushehr I. We also take into account the possibility that Russia would supply Iran with a Bushehr II reactor. On the other hand, we understand that Iran does not necessarily want to depend exclusively on one country and would like to have other guarantees in order to have a power generation program that is totally safe."
In addition to tough negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, the EU has also been at the eye of a storm on arms sales to China. Beijing is pressing the EU to lift its 1989 arms embargo on China, while Washington is insisting that the EU retain the ban. Giannella indicates that the EU's intention is to lift the arms embargo, but says that the EU would place the previously voluntary measures contained in an arms sales code of conduct in a legally binding document and adopt "transparency measures and mutual controls that will apply to exports to countries previously under embargo." She adds, "We have been making a lot of improvements, for ourselves, but also to reassure our partners."
Giannella further notes that the EU is pursuing joint efforts with other countries to bolster their compliance with arms control and nonproliferation agreements. She states, "We have agreed now to conduct specific consultations in the field of compliance...maybe closer cooperation in the field of compliance can help us in allaying the concerns of our American friends. And maybe we'll have more cooperation in the area of disarmament as well."
Giannella has served in her current position since October 2003 and previously served as the European Council's director for security and defense policy and the head of the Council's division for security issues.
A full transcript of the interview is available on the Arms Control Association's Web site: http://www.armscontrol.org/interviews/20050724_Giannella.asp.
For more on the Iranian nuclear program and EU nonproliferation policy, see the forthcoming September 2005 issue of "Arms Control Today."
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The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.