Nuclear Security Summit

President Barack Obama open the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.  The president says he wants new commitments to secure weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism.

With concerns about the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea a major backdrop to the conference, this is the biggest U.S.-sponsored gathering of world leaders in more than 60 years.

The New START treaty was signed on April 8, 2010 in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev and Iran will hold the Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non- Proliferation, 2010, announced on April 4, 2010 and to be held April 17–18, 2010.

The Summit is the largest gathering of heads of state called by a United States president since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. Delegations from forty-six governments plus the United States are attending, thirty-eight of which are represented by heads of state or government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his plans to attend the summit due to concerns that there would be demands for Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Yesterday’s schedule included the following events:

  • United States President Barack Obama holds bilateral meetings with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak of Malaysia, President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine, President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia, and President Hu Jintao of China beginning at 10:45 AM (EDT)
  • Obama welcomes heads of delegation to the Summit at 5:00 PM (EDT)
  • Obama holds a working dinner with heads of delegation beginning at 6:30 PM (EDT)

Today’s schedule included the following events:

  • Leaders gather for a group photo
  • United States President Barack Obama opened the second day of the Summit with remarks
  • Participants attend daylong plenary sessions

On the first day of the Summit, Ukraine announced that it would give up its 90-kilogram stock of highly enriched uranium and convert its research reactors from highly enriched to low-enriched uranium. It intends to accomplish these goals by 2012.

The most widely anticipated meeting during the Summit was the bilateral meeting between Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao of China held on April 12. During the ninety-minute meeting the two leaders discussed global economic re-balancing and Iran’s nuclear program. China agreed to work with the United States at the United Nations on a resolution imposing further economic sanctions on Iran.

The topic of a nuclear fuel bank may be discussed at the Summit. So far, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has sought the United States’ backing to house a nuclear fuel bank while he was in Washington for the event and Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gillani issued a statement saying Pakistan would like to act as a provider and “participate in any non-discriminatory nuclear fuel cycle assurance mechanism.”

On the second day of the Summit, President Obama announced that the next Nuclear Security Summit will be held in South Korea in 2012.

Also on the second day of the Summit, Canada, Mexico, and the United States reached an agreement “that will help convert fuel at Mexico’s nuclear research reactor to a lower grade of uranium unsuitable for nuclear weapons.” The project, which will be overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency, will eliminate all highly enriched uranium in Mexico.

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