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Official: What's Next After Nuclear Summit

  • Pamela Dockins

VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins interviewed Thomas Countryman, assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on Friday.

Here is a portion of the interview discussing Nuclear Summit outcomes:

Question: What’s next considering that President Barack Obama is hosting his fourth and final Nuclear Summit?

Thomas Countryman: Obama’s decision to make this a priority has paid off … inviting 50 leaders together to discuss a single topic added urgency … specific/concrete improvements … what’s next is to hand off the momentum to organizations like IAEA.

Q: What must happen to secure loose nuclear material in world?

Countryman: There is very little nuclear material that can be described as loose. ... Each country that has nuclear weapons or fuel (highly enriched uranium/plutonium) … has made extensive improvements to nuclear security; it can be stronger. … We are sharing best practices and ideas on storage.

Here is a portion of the interview discussing nuclear vulnerabilities:

Q: When it comes to nuclear smuggling and facilities’ safety … what countries are most vulnerable?

Countryman: Will not give a list … but any country where there are nuclear weapons, significant amounts of enriched uranium or plutonium and where terrorism is active. …

Here is a portion of the interview regarding North Korea:

Q: Is there U.S. concern about the transfers of nuclear technology or materials by North Korea?

Countryman: Concern about their possession of nuclear weapons and strong rhetoric from North Korea … history of illegal behavior and number of behaviors … that they may seek to proliferate it and share the technology.

Q: How has that impacted that summit, considering their provocation today. … There has been increased rhetoric against South Korea and the U.S. today … report to attack in Brussels that two of the attackers were looking for a nuclear site. …

Countryman: The agenda is clear to everyone attending the summit… threats from North Korea, terrorist activity on the minds of world’s leader, but won’t change outcome of the summit.