Opening Co-Chair Remarks at the GICNT 10th Anniversary Meeting
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
Thank you, Minister, for this solemn moment of silence. Orlando was a terrible act against all humanity, and we Americans have been deeply moved by the shows of sympathy and solidarity around the world.
Esteemed colleagues, I would like to welcome you all to the GICNT’s 10th Anniversary Meeting. Thank you to the Kingdom of the Netherlands for hosting this important event, and thank you to His Excellency, the Minister of Security and Justice, Mr. Ard Van der Steur, for delivering opening remarks, underscoring the Netherlands commitment to the GICNT. I would also like to recognize the personal dedication of Ambassador Kees Nederlof and his staff in organizing the 10th Anniversary Meeting and thank him for his continued support and leadership as the Coordinator of the GICNT’s Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG). In addition, thank you, Mr. Vic Evans of the United Kingdom, for your contributions to planning and executing this event. And I would like to welcome the representatives of Finland, Morocco, and Australia for your Chairmanship of the three Working Groups. Your work has been a key to their success – thank you.
The Netherlands has been a longstanding leader on nuclear security, hosting the Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014 and contributing so much to the GICNT. In addition to hosting the GICNT’s 5th Plenary Meeting in 2009, the
Netherlands played a key leadership role as the previous Chair of the Nuclear Detection Working Group and overseeing the development of numerous products and activities that have helped partner countries develop and sustain national nuclear detection capabilities. The March 2015 nuclear forensics conference and mock trial, “Glowing Tulip,” advanced important work on nuclear forensics in supporting the investigation and prosecution of criminal acts involving radioactive materials. And more recently, the IAG has made considerable progress under Dutch leadership.
The United States and Russia launched the GICNT ten years ago to address one of the greatest threats to international security: the potential for terrorists to acquire and use nuclear or other radioactive materials. Since then, the Initiative has played an increasingly prominent role in addressing this threat and in strengthening the global nuclear security architecture. This has been recognized by the Nuclear Security Summit process and the forward-looking Action Plan that was adopted at the 2016 NSS in Washington to support and help advance the goals of the GICNT.
This 10th Anniversary Meeting reinforces and underscores that senior-level attention is necessary beyond the Summit process to ensure appropriate resources and expertise are dedicated to countering the threat posed by nuclear and radiological terrorism. The United States fully supports the mission of the GICNT and its efforts as an informal, voluntary partnership that is uniquely positioned to address many of the most pressing and evolving challenges in nuclear security. I assure you that this view is shared at the highest levels of my government. I would like to read you a statement from President Obama:
June 13, 2016
I send greetings to all those gathered in The Hague for the 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). I want to thank each of the GICNT partners in attendance for their commitment to addressing the threat posed by terrorists who seek to acquire and use nuclear materials. I also extend my gratitude to the Netherlands for hosting this event, which emphasizes the importance of continued global leadership on nuclear security.
Over the past 10 years, the GICNT has transformed into a durable international institution by hosting over 80 joint activities. By bringing the global community together to exchange ideas on preventing, detecting, and responding to nuclear terrorism, the GICNT has helped technical and policy experts at all levels of government work with their counterparts around the world.
With the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit process, the GICNT will continue to play an increasingly critical role in sustaining the momentum for strengthening global nuclear security architecture and advancing effective nuclear security at national, regional, and global levels. The threat of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest challenges to international security, and we must continue to bolster our ability to coordinate and collaborate internationally to address this danger. No one country faces this threat alone, which is why I encourage all partner nations to continue to build relationships, develop trust, and share information with each other.
This anniversary meeting provides an opportunity for each country to commit to working together to continue building on the progress the GICNT has made on the path to peace and security. I wish all those attending the best for a successful meeting and an even more productive decade ahead.
It is appropriate that this meeting will focus on international cooperation and sustainability as priority focus areas for future GICNT activities. We aim for the Global Initiative to continue to provide a valuable forum for policy, technical, and operational experts from different disciplines and all levels of government to interact, exchange best practices, and share lessons learned. We continue to emphasize the enhancement of national-level coordination, and we also seek to promote best practices for developing and sustaining bilateral, regional, and international arrangements that will support and strengthen national capabilities in a nuclear terrorism crisis situation. GICNT activities in recent years have emphasized the importance of exercises and national exercise programs to test, evaluate, and improve nuclear security capabilities. But national exercises are only one measure for sustaining capabilities and expertise. The United States recognizes the Initiative’s unique value-added in strengthening international cooperation and promoting sustainable approaches to nuclear security, and I look forward to fruitful discussions among presenters, panelists, and other delegations on these priority focus areas.
The GICNT could not have accomplished so much over the past decade without the voluntary contributions of its partner countries and official observers in hosting and supporting the development of GICNT activities. Thank you all for your contributions to strengthening the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism over the past decade and helping to advance its mission. I look forward to productive discussions throughout this milestone 10th Anniversary Meeting.