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So Close Yet So Far Apart. Facilitating Dialogue and Cooperation across the Persian Gulf


Despite the shared history and cultural traits of the peoples living around the Persian Gulf, its littoral states are often at loggerheads. Deep-seated rivalries and suspicions continue to plague all attempts to create an inclusive and comprehensive security framework for the region. It is therefore necessary to look beyond the formal channels and methods of creating détente. In this paper we draw on the processes and methods employed in what eventually became OSCE and ASEAN. We argue that the endeavour to facilitate détente in the region requires a broader and more bottom-up approach to fostering mutual confidence and trust. Such Track 2 projects also benefit from a deeper conceptual understanding of peace and security. In short, by thinking in terms of human security other vital aspects of the living conditions and dignity of the populations in the region are taken into account when designing a regional security architecture. This in turn is necessary for the long-term success of such a project.

Paper produced in the framework of the FEPS-IAI project “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”, October 2020.

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