Global General

Nuclear security summit opens in Washington

Updated: 2010-04-13 03:00
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WASHINGTON: A 47-nation summit dedicated to keeping nuclear arms from terrorists opens as dozens of world leaders gather in the US capital Washington on Monday.

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Chinese President Hu Jintao, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were among the leaders that arrived on Monday. Other leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Jacob Zuma had arrived over the weekend.

The leaders are here for the Nuclear Security Summit, to be hosted by US President Barack Obama, with the goal of reaching consensus on securing loose nuclear material in four years.

Before the meeting officially kicks off, Obama had bilateral meetings with Jordan's King Abdullah, during which the two discussed ways to advance comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Obama also met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. More bilateral meetings are expected in the afternoon.

The summit is expected to produce a joint communique which will iterate commitments of the 47 participating countries, and a work plan on specific steps to "lock down the loose material in a very specific time frame."

Obama wants world leaders to confront the threat of nuclear arms falling into the hands of terrorists - a specter he labels "the single biggest threat to US security." And he is looking at the high-profile security forum here to help him reach his goal of ensuring that all nuclear materials worldwide are secured from theft or diversion within four years.