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Diplomacy in Action

Nuclear Risks and International Security Foreign Ministers Lunch

Rose Gottemoeller
Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security 
Nuclear Security Summit
The Hague, Netherlands
March 25, 2014


As delivered

Thank you, Minister Timmermans, for this opportunity to exchange views and status reports on the implementation of Summit objectives. Thank you also for the excellent arrangements for this summit, right down to the beautiful flowers and clear spring weather. It's showing the Netherlands off in a very good light. 

We are here in The Hague to discuss one of the most important challenges facing all of our countries: reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism. Securing all vulnerable nuclear material is our main goal here today. Since 2010 when we first met, we have accomplished quite a bit, in particular:

Since President Obama’s 2009 Prague speech, over 3 metric tons of vulnerable HEU and plutonium material has been removed or disposed of, and 11 countries have removed all HEU from their territory. This is a signal accomplishment.

  • By encouraging measures like these, the Summits have increased the security of nuclear material worldwide, reducing the chances that such material could fall into the hands of terrorists.
  • We still need to strive for continuous improvement, because nuclear security is never "finished." As long as nuclear and radioactive materials exist, they require our utmost commitment to their protection. 

We recognize these issues are part of a broader international agenda to reduce global nuclear dangers, an agenda to which we are fully committed. I think of it as a seamless tapestry. Along with nuclear security, the United States is committed to and focused on nonproliferation and disarmament as top priorities. It is important to understand that nonproliferation and disarmament are not competing objectives. They are complementary and reinforcing, and they go hand-in-hand with our nuclear security efforts. 

And we, of course, support the civil nuclear power agenda. The United States actively supports all three pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — disarmament, nonproliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy— and is committed to practical, step-by-step disarmament and securing, as President Obama put it, the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. 

We are focused in this effort on the human impacts of nuclear weapons, which is why I attended three weeks ago the Marshall Islands Remembrance Ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo test on Bikini Atoll. I was able to see with my own eyes the effects on the Marshallese people, and observe that after 60 years, resources must still go to health and clean-up efforts. Nuclear weapons exert a terrible toll, and we must never forget it. 

Thank you again, Mr. Minister, to you and your colleagues for organizing this important summit, and the chance for me to underscore once again President Obama's important goal of achieving the peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons.

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