Nuclear Security Summit Ends in Washington, DC

President Barack Obama ushered in the new era with an unprecedented, 47-nation summit to begin to confront this ultimate threat of nuclear terror.

It was an important first step. From the highest levels, it conferred top priority on what is planned as a continuing effort to better marshal global resources to keep the stuff of nuclear bombs — plutonium and highly enriched uranium — out of the hands of terrorists and smugglers.

“Nuclear materials that could be sold or stolen and fashioned into a nuclear weapon exist in dozens of nations.  Just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple — could kill and injure hundreds of thousands of innocent people.  Terrorist networks such as al Qaeda have tried to acquire the material for a nuclear weapon, and if they ever succeeded, they would surely use it.  Were they to do so, it would be a catastrophe for the world — causing extraordinary loss of life, and striking a major blow to global peace and stability”.

Doing so will demand unusual, difficult cooperation around the world. Nations’ nuclear secrets may be exposed. Global inspectors may spotlight governments’ ineptitude. International advisers may have to rewrite nations’ laws to crack down on nuclear sloppiness.

What’s needed is a “new manner of thinking,” Obama told the assembled presidents and premiers, echoing a prophetic warning from the earliest days of the nuclear age.

Nigeria’s Acting President Goodluck Jonathan attended the fast paced two day summit and is expected to return to Abuja tonight with a broader view of the real threat of nuclear materials in the hands of the wrong people.

Obama commented during the summit; “We have the opportunity, as an international community, to deepen our cooperation and to strengthen the institutions and partnerships that help prevent nuclear materials from ever falling into the hands of terrorists.  And that will be our focus this afternoon.

And we have the opportunity, as partners, to ensure that our progress is not a fleeting moment, but part of a serious and sustained effort.  And that’s why I am so pleased to announce that President Lee has agreed to host the next Nuclear Security Summit in the Republic of Korea in two years.  This reflects South Korea’s leadership, regionally and globally, and I thank President Lee and the South Korean people for their willingness to accept this responsibility”.


NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT UPDATE, DC – Vice President Biden hosted leaders and officials from 11 nations today in advance of the Nuclear Security Summit.  Those attending included heads of government and other representatives from nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are members of the Non-Aligned Movement.  The purpose was to exchange views on nuclear security and proliferation issues and the urgency of addressing global risks of nuclear terrorism.

 The Vice President underlined the interest shared by all nations in ensuring the security of nuclear materials that can be used in nuclear weapons and in shoring up international non-proliferation rules.  Those rules are centered in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an agreement that sets requirements for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states and encourages progress towards disarmament and the safe and secure peaceful use of nuclear energy. 

 Participants emphasized the close relationship between nuclear security and the development of nuclear energy.  The Vice President noted that peaceful nuclear uses can flourish in a world in which nuclear risks are steadily reduced and non-proliferation rules are respected and enforced.  With the number of nations with nuclear energy programs expected to double by mid-century, and with much of that growth in the developing world, it will be essential that nuclear security be applied globally in line with the highest international standards. The Vice President affirmed that any state in good standing on its non-proliferation obligations that is interested in pursuing nuclear energy and needs assistance would find a ready partner in the United States.

The List of Attendee’s;

Alfredo Moreno Charme, Foreign Minister of Chile

Prince Muqrin bin Abdul al-Aziz Al Saud, President of the General Intelligence Presidency of Saudi Arabia

Mourad Medelci, Foreign Minister of Algeria

Ahmed Aboulgheit, Foreign Minister of Egypt

Trirong Suwankiri, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand

Boediono, Vice President of Indonesia

Mohd. Najib Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

Abbas El Fassi, Prime Minister of Morocco

Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of Vietnam

Goodluck Jonathan, Acting President of Nigeria

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa

 photo – Watson/AFP/Getty/AP

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