Washington: In the aftermath of the horrific terror attacks in Brussels, world leaders at a special session during the Nuclear Security Summit next week will discuss threats posed by groups like ISIS to urban areas across the globe and seek solutions to counter such assaults.
“Next week, dozens of world leaders will come here to Washington for a summit focused on nuclear security. We’ll use that opportunity to also review our joint efforts against ISIL and to make sure the world remains united in this effort to protect our people,” US President Barack Obama said in his weekly radio and web address to the nation today.
Top world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to attend the fourth such summit meeting — an initiative of Obama.
The two-day summit on March 31 and April 1 will convene delegations from more than 50 nations that will continue discussion on the evolving threat and highlight steps that can be taken together to minimise the use of highly-enriched uranium, secure vulnerable materials, counter nuclear smuggling and deter, detect, and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism, the White House said yesterday.
In addition, this year’s summit includes a special session that will focus world leaders on the threat of groups like the Islamic State attacking urban areas across the globe.
“Raising awareness and discussing solutions to this scourge with leaders at the summit will strengthen both our preparations against such attacks and our united response against ISIL,” the White House said.
“The United States seeks a strengthened global nuclear security architecture that is comprehensive, is based on international standards, builds confidence in nations’ nuclear security implementation and results in declining global stocks of nuclear weapons-usable materials,” it said.
2016 will be the last Nuclear Security Summit in its current format.
The summit will be held days after terror attacks in airport and metro station at Brussels that left 31 people dead and 300 injured.
There are twin goals for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit — advancing tangible improvements in nuclear security behaviour and strengthening the global nuclear security architecture.
Action Plans will be endorsed for five key international organisations and institutions — International Atomic Energy Agency, United Nations, INTERPOL, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction — that will reflect the intent of summit countries in their roles as members of these organisations to strengthen their contributions to nuclear security.
After Obama announced the effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials in April 2009, the Nuclear Security Summits have resulted in dozens of national and multilateral commitments and tangible results that have enhanced nuclear security.
For example, since April 2009 more than 3.2 metric tonnes of vulnerable Highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium material have been removed or disposed of.
Thirteen countries and Taiwan have become HEU-free –Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Libya, Mexico, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
Physical security upgrades have been completed at 32 buildings storing weapons-usable fissile materials.
And radiation detection equipment has been installed at 328 international border crossings, airports and seaports to combat illicit trafficking in nuclear materials.
Several countries pledged to establish Centers of Excellence to provide international, regional and domestic training on nuclear security, safeguards and export control fundamentals and best practices.
A number of countries have ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM/A) and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) and additional states have joined the Global Partnership and/or the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.
The IAEA also hosted a Ministerial-level international conference on Nuclear Security in July 2013.
Through measures like these, the summits have increased the security of nuclear material worldwide, reducing opportunities for such material to fall into the hands of terrorists.
Russia is the major country which has decided not to participate in the NSS, which US officials have termed as unfortunate.
“We hope that Russia, as the host of the first nuclear security summit of ‘G7+1’ leaders in 1996, still shares the view that securing nuclear materials and combating nuclear terrorism are priorities well worth the personal attention of world leaders,” a US official said.