Dinner hosted by President Obama
(Washington Nuclear Security Summit)
Remarks by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the Dinner Session
“Nuclear Security Threat Perception”
President Barack Obama,
I congratulate you, Mr. President, for hosting this Summit; and thank you for extending warm hospitality to us.
Let me begin by saying that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was eagerly looking forward to participating in the Summit’s deliberations. Unfortunate developments back home prevented him from travelling to Washington. He conveys his greetings and good wishes to the world leaders assembled here.
We are grateful to you, Mr. President, for your message of solidarity with Pakistan during your telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
In the past six years, the NSS process has contributed significantly to nuclear security. Valuable ground has been covered in strengthening nuclear security architecture worldwide through national actions and voluntary exchange of experience, expertise and best practices.
Mr. President, you can take due pride in this legacy of yours.
Our discussion today on threat perceptions is important. Nuclear materials must never fall into the wrong hands. This is a global concern which Pakistan fully shares.
Renewed interest in nuclear energy worldwide implies more nuclear materials and facilities necessitating more preparedness. It is equally important to remain alive to the potential threat of radiological dispersal devices. This threat is not limited to states with significant nuclear programmes. Radioactive sources are being employed everywhere in the private sector, hospitals, industry and research.
Facilities hosting such materials are often more vulnerable. There is, therefore, the need for vigilance and preparedness in all places.
Emergency preparedness and response constitutes effective deterrence against malicious acts. This requires significant training efforts, including those by nuclear security centres developed by states.
Pakistan’s emergency response mechanism includes a Nuclear Emergency Management System at the national level. A Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Support Center and a Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Coordination Center run round the clock.
I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that Pakistan has ratified the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). This was a commitment that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made at the 2014 Hague Summit. Our delivering on this commitment demonstrates the importance we attach to strengthening global nuclear security architecture.
I thank you.
March 31, 2016