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Official: What's Next After Nuclear Summit

  • Pamela Dockins

Officials Discuss What's Next After Nuclear Summit
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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.