Obama says preventing proliferation, nuclear terrorism top of agenda

08:43, April 07, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday hailed the release of a new U.S. nuclear strategy, saying preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism is at the top of U.S. nuclear agenda for the first time.

The White House released the statement shortly after Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled the Nuclear Posture Review in a press briefing at the Pentagon.

Obama said the strategy recognizes the greatest threat to U.S. and global security is no longer a "nuclear exchange between nations," but "nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation to an increasing number of states."

But he also said "as long as nuclear weapons exist," the United States will maintain an effective nuclear deterrent for the United States and its allies, ruling out a unilateral disarmament.

Obama said his administration is seeking "substantial investments" to improve infrastructure, science and technology, and human capital need to sustain nuclear weapons stockpile. He also noted the administration is also strengthening conventional military capabilities which are "an important part" of U.S. deterrence.

In addition to putting prevention of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism at the top of U.S. nuclear agenda, Obama said the strategy further emphasizes the importance of nations meeting their Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, promising the United States will fulfill its responsibilities as a nuclear power under the NPT.

He said the United States has aligned its policies and proposed major funding increases for programs to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons around the world.

The new nuclear strategy comes on the eve of the signing ceremony this week of a new disarmament treaty between Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, which will be "committing the United States and Russia to substantial reductions in our nuclear arsenals."

Next week, a nuclear security summit in Washington will provide an opportunity for 47 nations to "commit to specific steps to pursue the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world within four years."



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