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Statement by Sam Nunn on 2012 Nuclear Security Summit

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"I applaud the South Korean government for hosting the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, and I commend President Obama for spearheading this innovative approach to reducing nuclear dangers and for his strong leadership on these issues over the last two years.

"The greatest threat we face in the world is the threat of nuclear terrorism, and the best way to protect against that threat is to secure nuclear material wherever it exists and to get rid of as much material as possible.  The sustained engagement of heads of state is essential for making progress on nuclear security, and that is why this Summit is enormously important. 

"Summits are an ideal forum for initiating a dialogue on priorities and building a common framework for action.  Steps that individual countries have taken or have agreed to take are making a difference to our global security.  However, as we move forward, governments must remain engaged by:

  • Establishing an international dialogue on priorities for materials security and strengthening the governance mechanisms needed to achieve those priorities.
  • Establishing global best practices for nuclear materials security.
  • Benchmarking progress and holding states accountable for security.
  • Building appropriate transparency to increase international confidence.

"I was particularly pleased to see leaders from industry and the expert community come together before the Summit in support of a comprehensive approach to securing nuclear materials worldwide.  We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe, and to win this race, we must build a global consensus among partners from government, the nuclear industry, experts, NGOs and the public."

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