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US State Department to Asharq Al-Awsat: We Have Reduced the Likelihood of a Terrorist Nuclear Attack - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Thomas Countryman

Thomas Countryman

Washington will host the fourth Nuclear Security Summit on Thursday in which the leaders of more than 50 countries will participate. Prominent international organisations and institutions including the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations, Interpol, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction will also attend the summit.

At least six Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Algeria and Morocco) will participate in the summit which aims to strengthen security measures concerning nuclear materials, technology related to them and nuclear facilities. It also aims to prevent terrorist groups from accessing these materials and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.

North Korean provocations are at the top of the agenda of a side meeting between Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the president of South Korea Park Geun-hye.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation Thomas Countryman ruled out the existence of imminent nuclear threats from ISIS but stressed in a small press conference attended by Asharq Al-Awsat that the United States cannot ignore this hypothesis, indicating that the measures taken by many countries have reduced the likelihood of nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists. He added that the possibility of ISIS obtaining weapons of mass destruction has been greatly reduced due to the actions taken by countries following previous nuclear security summits. Countryman continued by saying that “nuclear materials (in every country that has them) are under tight control and security measures have been strengthened”.

Countryman added that “the improvement in the security of nuclear materials is one part of a broader strategy we have regarding the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the limitation of arms, and we are working every day to reduce the dangers of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that could pose a threat to the United States and the world”.