The Cable

More “house gifts” for Obama

The string of small deliverables coming out of the Nuclear Security Summit continues. These announcements, which were largely planned in advance but are being rolled out throughout the event are what American officials have taken to calling "house gifts" because they are seen as offerings by visiting dignitaries who want to get in good with ...

The string of small deliverables coming out of the Nuclear Security Summit continues. These announcements, which were largely planned in advance but are being rolled out throughout the event are what American officials have taken to calling "house gifts" because they are seen as offerings by visiting dignitaries who want to get in good with their host.

"Maybe if you didn’t bring anything this time, Obama won’t invite you to the next one," one U.S. delegate joked.

And there are quite a few. We already knew about the Chilean and Ukrainian announcements that they would give up their last stores of highly enriched uranium. Ukraine also agreed to switch its reactor to use low-enriched uranium instead.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signed a deal to destroy large amounts of weapons grade plutonium today. Now, the Russians have announced they will shut down the plutonium plant in Zheleznogorsk, a once-secret city in Siberia. (They actually agreed to do that two years ago, but nice to know they will actually follow through.)

And Canada announced today that the country will give up a lot of its nuclear material, while Mexico announced today that it will convert it research reactors from highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium.

All of this allowed Obama to announce in his speech Tuesday afternoon, "We are not just making pledges — we are making real progress."

"The summit is a clever device for generating momentum," Joshua Pollack, a consultant to the U.S. government and a contributor to the Arms Control Wonk blog, told The Nelson Report, an insider Washington newsletter. "A lot of this stuff languishes because it costs money. But if everyone is expected to show up every couple of years and to be ashamed if they come empty-handed, well, it helps."

The final communiqué is below:

Nuclear terrorism is one of the most challenging threats to international security, and strong nuclear security measures are the most effective means to prevent terrorists, criminals, or other unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear materials. In addition to our shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we also all share the objective of nuclear security. Therefore those gathered here in Washington, D.C., on April 13, 2010, commit to strengthen nuclear security and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism. Success will require responsible national actions and sustained and effective international cooperation.

We welcome and join President Obama’s call to secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years, as we work together to enhance nuclear security. Therefore, we:

1. Reaffirm the fundamental responsibility of States, consistent with their respective international obligations, to maintain effective security of all nuclear materials, which includes nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control; to prevent non-state actors from obtaining the information or technology required to use such material for malicious purposes; and emphasize the importance of robust national legislative and regulatory frameworks for nuclear security;

2. Call on States to work cooperatively as an international community to advance nuclear security, requesting and providing assistance as necessary;

3. Recognize that highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium require special precautions and agree to promote measures to secure, account for, and consolidate these materials, as appropriate; and encourage the conversion of reactors from highly enriched to low enriched uranium fuel and minimization of use of highly enriched uranium, where technically and economically feasible;

4. Endeavor to fully implement all existing nuclear security commitments and work toward acceding to those not yet joined, consistent with national laws, policies and procedures;

5. Support the objectives of international nuclear security instruments, including the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as amended, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, as essential elements of the global nuclear security architecture;

6. Reaffirm the essential role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the international nuclear security framework and will work to ensure that it continues to have the appropriate structure, resources and expertise needed to carry out its mandated nuclear security activities in accordance with its Statute, relevant General Conference resolutions and its Nuclear Security Plans;

7. Recognize the role and contributions of the United Nations as well as the contributions of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the G-8-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction within their respective mandates and memberships;

8. Acknowledge the need for capacity building for nuclear security and cooperation at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels for the promotion of nuclear security culture through technology development, human resource development, education, and training; and stress the importance of optimizing international cooperation and coordination of assistance;

9. Recognize the need for cooperation among States to effectively prevent and respond to incidents of illicit nuclear trafficking; and agree to share, subject to respective national laws and procedures, information and expertise through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms in relevant areas such as nuclear detection, forensics, law enforcement, and the development of new technologies;

10. Recognize the continuing role of nuclear industry, including the private sector, in nuclear security and will work with industry to ensure the necessary priority of physical protection, material accountancy, and security culture;

11. Support the implementation of strong nuclear security practices that will not infringe upon the rights of States to develop and utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and technology and will facilitate international cooperation in the field of nuclear security; and

12. Recognize that measures contributing to nuclear material security have value in relation to the security of radioactive substances and encourage efforts to secure those materials as well.

Maintaining effective nuclear security will require continuous national efforts facilitated by international cooperation and undertaken on a voluntary basis by States. We will promote the strengthening of global nuclear security through dialogue and cooperation with all states. Thus, we issue the Work Plan as guidance for national and international action including through cooperation within the context of relevant international fora and organizations. We will hold the next Nuclear Security Summit in the Republic of Korea in 2012.

 Twitter: @joshrogin

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