News / Middle East

Obama Prepares to Open Nuclear Summit, Meets World Leaders

Multimedia

President Barack Obama on Monday will open an unprecedented summit of 47 nations focused on global action to secure nuclear materials and keep them out of the hands of terrorists.  On Sunday, the president held the first of more than 10 bilateral meetings with foreign leaders coinciding with the summit, amid tight security here in Washington for the event.  

On a cool but sunny spring day, the president walked the short distance from the White House across Pennsylvania Avenue to the official presidential guest residence, Blair House, for the first of at least 10 bilateral meetings he is expected to hold with heads of state and government.

On Sunday, that included the prime ministers of South Asia nuclear rivals India and Pakistan -- Manmohan Singh and Yusuf Raza Gilani -- along with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, whose country voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

President Obama's meetings also included two African leaders -- President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, and what the White House called a courtesy visit from Acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

Additional meetings are set for Monday at the summit venue -- the Washington Convention Center -- and will include China's President Hu Jintao, President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia, King Abdullah of Jordan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Najib Razak.

During the summit, which formally begins late Monday and lasts through Tuesday, other leaders and delegation members will be hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other U.S. officials.

President Obama will chair two key plenary sessions of the Nuclear Security Summit, focusing on how governments plan to respond to threats from unsecured nuclear materials and steps they are prepared to take to ensure their safety.

In a statement to reporters on Sunday as he met with the South African president, President Obama said the summit's focus is the single biggest threat to U.S. security in the short, medium and long term -- the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon. "We know that organizations like al-Qaida are in the process of trying to secure a nuclear weapon or other weapons of mass destruction, and [they] would have no compunction at using them," he said.

The detonation of an atomic weapon in New York City, London or Johannesburg, said the president, would change the security landscape of the United States and the world for years to come with devastating economic, political and security ramifications.  

Noting that South Africa once had a nuclear weapons program, President Obama said it decided that this was not the right path, adding that he hopes South Africa can be a guide for other countries to pursue nuclear non-proliferation.  

The White House says the final communiqué to be issued on Tuesday by the 47 nations attending the Nuclear Security Summit will formally recognize the serious threat posed by nuclear terrorism, endorse efforts to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials over a four year period and speak about what countries will do on the national and international level.

The summit is the third major event in two weeks dealing with nuclear security, including the recent signing in Prague by President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev of a new strategic arms reduction treaty, and the unveiling of the Obama administration's Nuclear Posture Review.

As Mr. Obama prepares for two days of intense consultations with summit participants on reducing the threat from loose nuclear materials and potential nuclear terrorism, he says he feels good with what he calls the degree of commitment and sense of urgency he has seen so far from world leaders, and that he believes enormous progress can come from the gathering.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More