Nuclear Terrorism will be the focus for the two-day Nuclear Security Summit held this Monday in The Hague. 53 delegates will arrive to meet on the reduction and security of nuclear supplies, and keeping them from terrorist possession. Among the 53 delegates will also include leaders from the G-7, U.S., Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada.
The Nuclear Security Summit will be the backdrop for the G-7 also to discuss the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending but is sending his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Also not in attendance will be Iran and North Korea, which were excluded by mutual agreement.
Although the confrontation between the West and Russia will overshadow the summit, Deepti Choubey, a senior leader at the Nuclear Threat Initiative states that the primary focus is nuclear terrorism. Choubey said that while international attention can turn quickly the attentions of terrorists do not. International terrorists continue to be a real and tangible threat when it comes to the possession of nuclear materials.
U.S. President Barack Obama launched the series of nuclear summit meetings in 2009 after taking office. His goal is to reduce the risk of terrorist attack with either nuclear or “dirty bomb” weapons. Obama states that this is one of his most important international policy goals for his presidency.
Participants in the nuclear terrorism summit conclude meetings with non-binding accords. Countries typically regard nuclear facilities and weapons as private sovereign matters. The summit focuses on individual commitments by the delegates rather than creating international treaties or laws.
These Nuclear Security Summits have produced positive results since their creation. According to AP reports, the numbers of countries possessing materials to create nuclear weapons have fallen from 39 to 25. Piet de Klerk, Dutch diplomat who lead negotiations prior to the summit’s inception stated that a further reduction in countries that possess nuclear grade material was not likely.
However, Klerk did say that the 2014 summit would likely produce an accord that would significantly reduce plutonium stores that are relevant to Japan. Japan may be evaluating its use of nuclear power in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster of 2011. Japan owns one of the largest plutonium stockpiles.
As the countries focus on nuclear terrorism for the third Nuclear Security Summit the Netherlands is also creating a package of best practices that brings together all of the existing nuclear arms treaties, voluntary military guidelines, agreements, and industry and civilian use programs. This single package will more clearly define international nuclear security. The three host nations, the Netherlands, U.S. and South Korea will be among the first nations to vow to adhere to the package.
Kenneth Luongo from the Partnership for Global Security stated that those countries who show a willingness to commit to such a program will indicate those that are serious about nuclear security. He said he hoped that the final 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. would result in all nations’ commitment to the accord and the reduction of nuclear terrorism threats.
By Anthony Clark