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SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, let me say how proud I am to be here, and to thank all of you for what you do every day on behalf of our important mission and how essential this work is, and being part of the inauguration of our newly modernized NRRC.
It is also a great honor to have the DCM from the Russian Embassy. This has been a partnership for many years now, and it’s very fitting that you would be here with us. And I appreciate it greatly.
This is a little bit like cutting the ribbon on a piece of diplomatic history. There is a lot behind where we are today that has stood the test of time. Despite all the tensions during the Cold War, our two governments – then the Soviet Union and the United States – were able to agree to come together to set up these centers. And we knew that we had to do that to keep faith with the future of our own people and the world. And so indeed, we determined that we had to have better systems in place when it came to our nuclear arsenals because the consequences of getting something wrong, of misreading some kind of signal, would have potentially catastrophic consequences.
So on April 1st 1988, we opened NRRCs in both Moscow and Washington. And from that day until today, they have been manned 24/7. And that has kept open the lines of communication. It’s also built trust between our two governments.
Over the past now nearly 25 years, the habits of communication between our teams formed around nuclear threats have expanded to promote transparency across the broad spectrum of arms control. And today, the NRRCs report on 13 different agreements and confidence-building measures. This new center will enhance our notification and communication structures with the benefit of modern technology, so we can keep evolving to meet the arms control needs of the future.
So I’d like to thank everyone, past and present, and I suppose even future, on the NRRC staff here in the United States and their counterparts in Moscow, to really express our deep gratitude for your commitment to peace and diplomacy in the 20th and now the 21st century.
So I’m excited to take these gigantic scissors – (laughter) --
PARTICIPANT: I’ve been assured that they are sharp. They’ve been using them for haircuts. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think I see (inaudible). (Laughter.)
PARTICIPANT: During the night shift.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. So, are we ready?
SECRETARY CLINTON: All right. Shall we do a countdown? Oh, no. Wrong – (laughter).
All right, well. All right, here we go – official. (Applause.)