Nuclear Security Guidelines Adopted by More Than 30 Countries

Nuclear Security Guidelines Adopted by More Than 30 Countries

Daily News Article   —   Posted on March 26, 2014

(by Maarten Van Tartwijk and Carol E. Lee, The Wall Street Journal)  THE HAGUE – More than 30 countries agreed Tuesday to adopt guidelines to improve nuclear security as part of a U.S.-orchestrated effort, but major nuclear powers including Russia and China were notably absent from the list.

nuclear security_Hague

While more than 50 countries were involved in the negotiations, only 35 said they would implement the guidelines meant to prevent nuclear and radioactive material from falling in the hands of terrorists. [Among the countries that agreed were the U.S., France, Britain, Canada and Israel.]

Russia, which has large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, didn’t sign up. China, India and Pakistan also didn’t join.  [North Korea is also not on the list.]

The idea for the Nuclear Security Summit was floated by President Obama in 2009, when he declared nuclear terrorism one of the greatest threats to international security. But the crisis in Ukraine cast a shadow over the gathering and raised fresh questions about the viability of the international effort.

[The countries which agreed pledged to turn international guidelines on nuclear security into national laws, a move aimed at preventing terrorists from getting their hands on nuclear material. The agreement also commits countries to open up their security procedures to independent review, a further step toward creating an international legal framework to thwart nuclear terrorism, said a joint statement from the Netherlands, the U.S. and South Korea.]  U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he was satisfied with the outcome. “[It is] the closest thing we have to international standards for nuclear security,” he said during a news conference. 

The White House, seeking to maintain the credibility of Mr. Obama’s nonproliferation agenda, separately Tuesday issued a joint statement with Ukraine saying the two countries will uphold their parts of a 1994 agreement with Russia under which Kiev gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for a guarantee of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

map_of_netherlandsWestern officials fear Moscow’s annexation of Crimea has threatened the credibility of such guarantees. Their statement was designed to buttress the importance of cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine when both countries face questions about whether a nuclear-armed Ukraine could have prevented Russia’s actions.

“Russia’s actions undermine the foundation of the global security architecture and endanger European peace and security,” the statement said. “As the people of Ukraine work to restore unity, peace, and security to their country, the United States will stand by their side.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in brief remarks as the summit wound down, suggested the crisis risked sending the message that regimes around the world can better safeguard their territory if they possess nuclear weapons.

“The fact that Russia, as a

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