27 March 2012, 19:03

Russia-US nuclear security dialogue to continue

Russia-US nuclear security dialogue to continue

Russia is interested in further dialogue with the US on missile defense no matter who wins the presidential elections there in November, President Dmitry Medvedev told journalists after the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul. Commenting on the results of the summit, Medvedev said that Russia pays much attention to international efforts aimed at fighting nuclear terror.

Russia is interested in further dialogue with the US on missile defense no matter who wins the presidential elections there in November, President Dmitry Medvedev told journalists after the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.

Commenting on the results of the summit, Medvedev said that Russia pays much attention to international efforts aimed at fighting nuclear terror. He also added that Moscow would be doing its best to persuade Iran and North Korea to resume talks on its nuclear programs. 

The summit’s agenda was dominated by US plans to deploy an anti-missile shield in Europe. "Moscow is determined to continue talks with Washington on the issue and avoid the worst-case scenario", Mr. Medvedev said.

"The dialogue has not been broken off, and now the US side has confirmed its readiness to continue the talks. We welcome this decision. We have all chances and enough time to achieve a compromise on all differences concerning the European missile defense shield. To do so, we should not only hold talks but take some technical decision as well. Mr. Obama and I have agreed that our experts will continue consultations within the next six months, because neither we nor our US partners, I believe, have a complete understanding of all aspects related to this situation. Anti-missile system is also about politics, not just about defense. That is why we will hold the talks till the end, which we expect will bring us guarantees that US missile defense system is not targeting Russia", the Russian leader said.

Dmitry Medvedev is on the whole satisfied with the Seoul summit despite the fact that some problems remained unsolved. These include the ratification of the UN Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism that was passed in 2005. What’s important, however, is that work continues along this path, the Russian leader said.

"It’s a very complicated set of problems and we don’t expect them to be solved within just a few meetings, President Medvedev said. We have mapped out a number of solutions that would enable us to build cooperation in nuclear security more effectively. In spite of what happened at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant in Japan, the majority of countries are aware that nothing can substitute for nuclear power technology. We initiated a new legal base and proposed to modernize the existing conventions, including the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, and we also proposed a global initiative for combating acts of nuclear terrorism. In my opinion, this is quite a solid legal base, but the problem is that not all are eager to ratify and accept it."

Russia and Kazakhstan issued a joint statement backed by the United States on the rehabilitation of the former Soviet-era nuclear test ground at Semipalatinsk. Another important agreement reached in Seoul is to minimize the use of enriched uranium by the end of 2013. President Medvedev emphasized the need to involve all countries concerned in debates on nuclear energy issues. This also applies to North Korea and Iran, he said.

"It would be good if the countries we have been talking so much of would take a more active part in discussions. Let’s hope that they will return to the negotiating table sooner or later and we will continue this dialogue both within the existing international formats for the nuclear programs of, say, Iran or North Korea, and new extended formats."

This was the second International Nuclear Security Summit. The first one was held in Washington in 2010.

The Seoul summit brought together the heads of state and government from more than 50 countries. In their final communiqué, they reaffirmed that “measures to strengthen nuclear should not hamper the rights of states to develop and utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.

The next nuclear security summit will take place in The Netherlands in 2014.

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