April 13, 2010

Lugar Tells Nuclear Summit to Say 'Yes' to Cooperation

U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar addressed the Foreign Minister’s luncheon at the Nuclear Summit today in Washington, DC. He was introduced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In her introduction, Secretary Clinton said:

“When the Cold War ended, Senator Lugar was one of the earliest and strongest advocates for addressing the dangers posed by vulnerable nuclear weapons and materials. In 1991, he came together with Democrat Sam Nunn, who was then serving as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and together they crafted legislation that created the Nunn-Lugar Cooperation Threat Reduction program. The work that grew out of their cooperation has become synonymous with the United State’s bipartisan commitment to nuclear security.

“It is impossible to know how many tragedies have been prevented through Senator Lugar’s commitment to this issue. But I’m convinced that the world owes him a debt of thanks. Over the years, American threat reduction teams have found highly radioactive materials stored in open fields. They have discovered fissile materials warehoused at sites without electricity, telephones, or armed guards. Senator Lugar’s work has helped address these disasters waiting to happen. And in the process he has made our countries, our families, and our future safer.”

Lugar told the Foreign Ministers:

“Back in the 1990s, I engaged in another form of personal diplomacy with the then leaders of Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus to convince them to liquidate their nuclear arsenals with the aid of the United States and to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear states. This undertaking reflected one of the initial steps of the so-called Nunn-Lugar program.

“The primary lesson to be drawn from this initial Nunn-Lugar success was that former enemies of some 50-years in duration found a way to work together to reduce common threats and dangers to the planet as a whole. Today, that 50-year period of enmity and competition is over, and we meet here today over lunch as cooperative partners united in our common interest to reduce the threats posed to all of us by the uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear materials.

“We meet here today in Washington in search of the same kind of political will and collective creativity that made the Nunn-Lugar program such a success. The President of the United States has insured the availability of sufficient resources to meet the challenge of collecting and safeguarding nuclear and other materials on a global basis. My message to you this afternoon is simple: Just say Yes, and together we can accomplish this strategic objective together.”

Yesterday, Lugar met with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and praised the Chilean cooperation with the U.S. to secure and remove 40 pounds of highly enriched uranium in the midst of its earthquake recovery.

Lugar also welcomed the announcement by Ukraine to relinquish its highly enriched uranium stockpile. The Nunn Lugar program has worked in Ukraine since its beginning in 1992 to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, materials and programs. Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program. Those countries were the third, fourth and eighth largest nuclear weapons powers in the world.

In November 1991, Lugar (R-IN) and Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) authored the Nunn-Lugar Act, which established the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. This program has provided U.S. funding and expertise to help the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle its enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials, and delivery systems. In 2003, Congress adopted the Nunn-Lugar Expansion Act, which authorized the Nunn-Lugar program to operate outside the former Soviet Union to address proliferation threats. In 2004, Nunn-Lugar funds were committed for the first time outside of the former Soviet Union to destroy chemical weapons in Albania, under a Lugar-led expansion of the program. In 2007, Lugar announced the complete destruction of Albania’s chemical weapons.

The Nunn-Lugar scorecard now totals 7,527 strategic nuclear warheads deactivated, 774 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) destroyed, 498 ICBM silos eliminated, 156 ICBM mobile launchers destroyed, 651 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) eliminated, 476 SLBM launchers eliminated, 32 nuclear submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles destroyed, 155 bomber eliminated, 906 nuclear air-to-surface missiles (ASMs) destroyed, 194 nuclear test tunnels eliminated, 471 nuclear weapons transport train shipments secured, upgraded security at 24 nuclear weapons storage sites, and built and equipped 20 biological monitoring stations.

The Nunn-Lugar program: http://lugar.senate.gov/nunnlugar/

The Nunn-Lugar scorecard: http://lugar.senate.gov/nunnlugar/scorecard.html  

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