Biden courts NAM on nukes

April 13th, 2010 - 11:41 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, April 13 (IANS) Some three years after then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked India to “move past old ways of thinking” as the “Non-Aligned Movement has lost its meaning”, the United States is courting the group on the issue of nuclear security.
“The goals of the Non-Aligned Movement and my country on the important issues of nuclear security, non-proliferation as well as well other issues have never been closer,” US Vice President Joe Biden told a dozen leaders from developing nations Monday.

“We know that some of the (NAM) countries and elsewhere believe that we have not been moving fast enough and that we could do more,” Biden told guests at a lunch he hosted ahead of the 47-nation nuclear security summit hosted by President Barack Obama.

“But one thing that we all agree on is that adding more nuclear weapons or more nuclear weapons states is the exact wrong approach,” he said.

“Controlling all the nuclear materials that can produce a bomb is in the interest of everyone,” Biden said in support of Obama’s goal of securing loose nuclear material in weapons, atomic reactors and stockpiles within four years.

Biden said there are hundreds of tons of nuclear material scattered over 40 countries, including the US and many of the countries represented at the gathering.

“And just 50 pounds of high-purity uranium smaller than a soccer ball could destroy the downtown of all our capital cities and kill tens if not hundreds of thousands of individuals. So it’s very much in our interest to gain control,” he said.

Biden said that more than half of the world’s dangerous nuclear materials were owned by industry, not governments. “And we will work with them, as we will work with you, to address our common concerns.”

Officials from Algeria, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam attended Biden’s lunch.

Biden’s office had said the meeting would build on the summit’s objectives “to better understand the threat posed by nuclear terrorism, to agree to collective action to secure nuclear material and to prevent nuclear smuggling and terrorism.”

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