News / USA

Obama Opens 47-Nation Nuclear Security Summit

Multimedia

President Barack Obama says the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit he is hosting here in Washington will produce specific, concrete actions to make the world safer.  The president says he wants new commitments to secure nuclear materials to keep them out of the hands of terrorists. With concerns about the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea a major backdrop to the conference, this is the biggest U.S.-sponsored gathering of world leaders in more than 60 years.

With this summit and efforts to follow, President Obama faces a test of his ability to further a nuclear agenda focused on nonproliferation and countering potential nuclear terrorism, with support from like-minded nations.

All of the world's major nuclear powers are here - Russia, China, Britain and France - along with South Asian nuclear rivals India and Pakistan.  Israel, which is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, but has never confirmed their existence, is also represented.

North Korea, which is believed to have tested a nuclear weapon in 2006, was not invited nor was Iran, which is still engaged in a standoff with the international community over its uranium enrichment program that Tehran maintains is for peaceful purposes and not for nuclear weapons.  Syria was also not invited.

Iran dismissed the outcome of the Washington conference in advance as it faces the possibility of a fourth round of sanctions under a U.N. Security Council resolution that President Obama says he hopes can be finalized in coming weeks with support from Russia and China.

President Obama greeted each delegation on Monday at the summit site, before the leaders went into a working dinner.

John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, called the threat of nuclear terrorism real and growing.  Although there is no indication that al-Qaida has a nuclear weapon, he said every step must be taken to ensure that it does not acquire one.

"I am determined to ensure that they are not going to be able to obtain that type of capability," said John Brennan. "And the best way to do it as we continue to degrade and destroy al-Qaida is to take away the opportunities they may have to acquire the fissile material, highly enriched uranium or separated plutonium, or the expertise that is required to use that fissile material to create an improvised nuclear explosive device."

Saying some countries need to do a better job of "locking down" nuclear materials, Brennan added that a key goal is to ensure that nations understand their responsibilities.  

In bilateral meetings with countries such as Kazakhstan and Ukraine, President Obama appears to have achieved the support he wants for the final communiqué to be issued on Tuesday, committing nations to securing nuclear materials over a four year period.

To that end, the White House announced an agreement in which Ukraine committed to eliminating its stockpile of highly enriched uranium by the time of the next Nuclear Security Summit in 2012, with a substantial amount to be removed by the end of this year.

Saying this was something the United States had sought for more than a decade, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about the commitments President Obama wants to see from the summit.

"There are a host of roles that the countries represented here can play," said Robert Gibbs. "Again, some have that highly enriched uranium that we are seeking to secure, others can play an effort in how to secure that.  Others can play an effort in the interdiction of these types of materials in the event that they leave where they are."

President Obama's 90-minute meeting with China's President Hu Jintao produced what U.S. officials describe as an agreement that Iran must meet its international nuclear nonproliferation obligations.  White House national security aide Jeff Bader said President Hu shared U.S. concerns about Iran's nuclear program and the overall goal of preserving the nonproliferation regime, adding that the two presidents agreed to instruct U.N. delegations to work with the P5 + 1 on a new Security Council sanctions resolution.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters after the meeting that China hopes the Iran issue can be resolved through dialogue and negotiations.

On concerns about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, a White House statement after the president's Sunday meeting with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said the Pakistani leader gave an assurance that his country "takes nuclear security seriously and has appropriate safeguards in place."

Vice President Joe Biden hosted leaders and officials from 11 Non-Aligned Movement nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, telling them that "adding more nuclear weapons or more nuclear-weapon states is the exact wrong approach at this moment in the world's history."  

President Obama has two additional bilateral meetings scheduled on Tuesday - one with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the other with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey.

As for the location of the next Nuclear Security Summit, White House spokesman Gibbs says there will be an announcement on that on Tuesday at the conclusion of the Washington conference.   

You May Like

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'i
X
Scott Stearns
September 23, 2014 10:52 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video US, Gulf Allies Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria

United States forces have carried out strikes against Islamic State or ISIL militant positions in Syria - the first time Western forces have taken action on Syrian soil. Five U.S. allies from the Gulf joined the military action. Local reports suggest dozens of militants were killed. The U.S. also carried out unilateral missile strikes against a Syria-based terror group which Washington says poses an imminent threat to the West. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Used to Kill Cancer Tumor

There is a new way of killing certain cancer tumors that allows the patient to go home on the same day. Surgeons at the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California became the first doctors to use this procedure on a patient with the help of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, and new robotic technology. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in Five Countries

Hollywood stars Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner and 30 others have voiced their support for a U.S.-backed initiative called "Let Girls Learn." The $231 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at ensuring public and quality education for girls worldwide. As VOA's Mariama Diallo reports, this new program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Video

Video UN: Relocation of Bedouins in Israel Weakens Two-state Solution

Rural Bedouins living in disputed lands east of Jerusalem could soon find themselves forcibly relocated. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Jerusalem that while Israel defends the move as in the Bedouins’ best interests, the United Nations says the plan threatens the survival of the two-state solution with Palestinians.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Prolonged Drought Plagues SW Oklahoma Farmers

Parts of western Texas and southwestern Oklahoma have been in drought conditions for several years running and the deficit in rainfall has taken a heavy toll on cotton and grain production. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says the state has suffered $2 billion in agricultural losses since 2011. There has been rain in recent weeks, but, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Altus, Oklahoma, for most farmers it has been too late.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid