x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE to work with EU to set up centre to monitor dangerous materials

The UAE will work with the European Union to set up an international centre to help to counter the risks of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials falling into the wrong hands.

DUBAI //The UAE will work with the European Union to set up an international centre to help to counter the risks of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials falling into the wrong hands.

Local and international experts will meet in Abu Dhabi at least twice a year to discuss readiness and responses for such threats.

The EU made the announcement to the GCC in Riyadh.

Adam Kulach, the EU ambassador to the GCC, asked Arabian Gulf nations to join Europe's international network to battle illicit trade in such materials.

"The need for high-level cooperation to reinforce efforts to respond to risks from chemical and other materials is important," Mr Kulach said.

"Such cooperation is important for the Gulf region, for example, to protect industrial installations."

The next step for GCC nations wanting to join the network is to set up their own teams to cut down the risks caused by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials.

The Arabian Gulf would be the ninth region in which the EU has established centres of excellence. Presentations on the initiative will be held in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

The project was launched in 2010 by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.

Threats from CBRN materials can come from proliferation, theft, sabotage and trafficking, said Bruno Dupré of the EU's external action service.

Risks from industrial accidents - in particular chemical or nuclear - waste treatment and transport, are also issues, as are natural disasters.

The announcement was made last week at a conference held by the EU and the Emirates on the growing CBRN risks worldwide.

The EU Commission in Riyadh said the centre is in its initial stages, and no date has been announced for its launch.

amustafa@thenational.ae