Co-Founder, Co-Chair, and Strategic Advisor
Statement of Former Senator Sam Nunn Co-Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative Regarding the Joint Statement from Presidents Obama and Medvedev
“It is very significant that Presidents Obama and Medvedev have made clear that the United States and Russia will work together to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. It is equally important that they both understand that the essential steps required to achieve this goal must be accomplished together and that we must get other nations to join us.
“The two Presidents have laid out an ambitious agenda that recognizes the fundamental principle that we are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe. This is particularly true in the area of nuclear dangers and regional conflicts, including the dangerous developments in North Korea and Iran.
“It is apparent that the two leaders recognize that both nations have vital interests that can only be protected by improved communications and cooperation. This is particularly true in the area of Euro-Atlantic security and missile defense. Cooperation between the United States and Russia on these matters is imperative.
“I agree with the Presidents that they must translate their ‘warm words into actual achievements.’ Significant progress in reducing nuclear dangers will depend on continued high-level leadership, focus and engagement. They have charted the course – now every day, every week, and every month for the rest of their terms in office, they must assign clear responsibility and demand accountability from their respective governments.
“We must do all we can to prevent nuclear weapons and materials from getting into dangerous hands, to prevent their proliferation and, ultimately, to end them as a threat to the world. There should be no higher security priority than keeping nuclear weapons and materials out of the hands of terrorists.”
Former Senator Sam Nunn is Co-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a charitable organization working to reduce the threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. In 2007 and 2008, he joined with former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in co-authoring two op-eds in The Wall Street Journal linking the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons with urgent steps that can be taken to immediately reduce nuclear dangers.
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