Nuclear security summit ends with pledge, plan to thwart nuclear terrorism

13:50, April 14, 2010      

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Leaders and representatives from 47 states ended a nuclear security summit here Tuesday, pledging to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons by securing vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years.

Chinese President Hu Jintao(4th R,front)poses for a group photo with other world leaders during the Nuclear Security Summit at the Washington Convention Center in Washington,April 13,2010 0.(Xinhua/Li Xueren)

"We made real progress in building a safer world," U.S. President Barack Obama said at a press conference after the meeting.

Part of the progress Obama was referring to was two documents adopted by the leaders: the first was a 12-point communique vowing commitment to lock up loose nuclear materials, a goal he outlined in a speech in Czech capital Prague one year ago; the second was a work plan that outlines specific steps to realize the goal.

"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," reads the communique.

Leaders from China, Russia, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan were among participants at the summit, making it the largest gathering of world leaders in Washington in more than 60 years.

Heads of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Council also joined the leaders in their discussions on Monday and Tuesday.

The summit was convened based on the understanding that "two decades after the end of the Cold War... the risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up," because "it is increasingly clear that the danger of nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats to global security," according to Obama.

John Brennan, Obama's deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism and homeland security, said before the summit that al-Qaeda has been actively seeking nuclear weapons for the past 15 years.

Countries responded to that assessment not only by adopting the communique and the work plan, but also with "meaningful steps that can be implemented right now," Obama said.

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