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Constant vigilance, preparedness must for nuclear security: PM Nawaz

26 March, 2014

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HAGUE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday stressed constant vigilance and preparedness at the national level as well as international cooperation to strengthen nuclear security.

"Let me clarify that there is no such thing as 'nuclear security fatigue'. Nuclear security is a continuous national responsibility," the Prime Minister said in his opening remarks at the 'Informal Plenary on the future of the Nuclear Security Summit'.

He suggested that in the years to come, the states should maintain the political will and high-level focus to advance the agenda of nuclear security."In future, while implementing our decisions, we have to strike a balance between confidentiality and openness; and steer away from both alarmism and complacency. Nuclear security must not fade off the leaders' radar screens," he maintained.

The Prime Minister expressed pleasure that US President Barack Obama would be hosting the next Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in 2016. "It is only fitting that this process, which was launched in the United States, is also concluded there. We know we cannot hold the summits in perpetuity," he added.

He said in the past four years, three summits had made progress; and their next summit would cover fresh ground. "We have to look beyond the present process and the 2016."

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also stressed the need to broaden participation in this process for widening its ownership to enhance its legitimacy. It makes perfect sense that beyond 2016 the entire membership of the IAEA owns and upholds the decisions taken by the nuclear security summits, he opined.

"In close consultation with the IAEA membership, we should dispel the impression that the NSS process is imposing new mandates on the agency."He said, "As we go forward, we will have to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. We are not creating parallel mechanisms or a new treaty regime."

He said in post-2016, the focus should be on synergy and coordination among various components of the nuclear security architecture - which comprises the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the UN 1540 Committee, conventions on physical protection of nuclear material and the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, and relevant international forums.

The IAEA could play a lead role on this in accordance with its statute, he added. He said to take this step beyond 2016, it was prudent to devolve the process to a lower level, with the backing and continuing interest of leaders.

"The process, we envisage, could be supported by senior officials and experts. The exact cycle and scope of the follow-up process, led by the IAEA, could be discussed at the 2016 Summit," he added.

The Prime Minister observed that in parallel, the IAEA's three yearly nuclear security conferences would be a mean to sustain the present momentum. "By 2016, our four summits would have put substantial content on the table for follow-up and implementation, which are key for strengthened international cooperation," he added.


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