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Dear Colleagues,

Thank you all for attending this Heads of Delegation session of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification’s (IPNDV) Phase III Interim Review. When we finalized the Programme of Work for Phase III in Ottawa two years ago, we had no idea that our work would be interrupted by a global pandemic the likes of which had not been seen in more than a century. But through hard work and determination, the experts who drive this partnership identified ways to continue working and making progress. Although there have been some challenges in moving to all-virtual working methods, I am very impressed with the things that this body, indeed all of you, have accomplished. In addition to continuing to meet and drafting insightful, and informative papers, you have designed and executed not one, but two tabletop exercises, all through virtual platforms. And those exercises produced real insights that went on to inform the work done subsequently.

That perseverance and don’t-quit attitude have allowed the Partnership to remain a vital and relevant element critical to advancing the state-of-the-possible in the field of nuclear disarmament verification.

Given the challenging international security environment, initiatives like the IPNDV are important to continuing to make progress on the complex issues involved with nuclear disarmament. The work done by this group does not consist of half-measures or empty gestures, but practical proposals that have been examined and tested under realistic conditions through exercises and technology demonstrations.

Today we will examine the work that has been done, spending some time this morning looking back over the first two phases of work, as well as the first two years of Phase III. This review will set the foundation for continuing our efforts during the remainder of Phase III and will inform the remainder of today’s agenda as we update the Phase III Programme of Work and chart a course for the next 3-4 years.

I thank you all very much for attending and am greatly looking forward to seeing first-hand the great work being done by the IPNDV, and to ensuring that that work continues into the future.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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