Global Independent Analytics

World Leaders Meeting With Obama to Curb Nuclear Threat

Leaders from more than 50 countries gathered here on Thursday at the behest of President Obama to try to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons

Mark Landler for The New York Times reports: the Nuclear Security Summit, the fourth and possibly last of these gatherings, opened with a palpably subdued atmosphere.

Firstly, the leader of the country with a significant nuclear stockpile – that is Vladimir Putin – boycotted the meeting, thus making any major discoveries in terms of nuclear security rather unlikely. Given that Obama is leaving office next year, the chances are that a Nuclear Security Summit would not happen ever again.

Russia is “going to miss out on an opportunity to coordinate with the rest of the international community on these important issues,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Wednesday.

“I do think that it serves to further illustrate the degree to which Russia is isolated from the rest of the international community – that for whatever reason, they’ve chosen not to engage in this conversation,” Mr. Earnest said.

At the meeting, Obama is expected to celebrate some achievements including Japan’s decision to transfer 500 kg of enriched uranium and plutonium. However, analysts suppose that despite the transfer, major risk still remains.

“Binding global agreements on nuclear security remain elusive, so the meeting is likely to focus on regional threats. The terrorist attack in Belgium last week has cast a shadow over the gathering, particularly after reports that fighters for the Islamic State were seeking to penetrate a nuclear facility to obtain material for a so-called radioactive dirty bomb,” assumes Landler.

Obama also included a session dedicated to a discussion of the status of the military campaign against ISIS. After the session, he will also conduct one-on-one meetings with President Xi Jinping of China and President François Hollande of France.

“The Nuclear Security Summit grew out of a landmark speech given by Mr. Obama in Prague in 2009, in which he set a goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Leaders first convened in Washington in 2010, and again in South Korea in 2012 and the Netherlands in 2014.

But when Mr. Obama departs the scene in January, it is not clear who will keep the momentum going. While the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, supports Mr. Obama’s policies against nuclear proliferation, she has evinced little of his fervor for a nuclear-free world,” concludes Landler.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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