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Chairman Kerry On The Nuclear Security Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement today about the historic two-day nuclear security summit:

“The leaders of 47 nations are gathering in Washington this week to discuss the critical matter of how to keep nuclear weapons materials out of the hands of terrorists. The objective is to develop the most effective means of securing nuclear stockpiles worldwide within the next three years, a goal that I first set out in 2004 on an issue George Bush and I agreed was the biggest threat to our security.

“Combating nuclear terrorism requires that we take every step possible and I hope President Obama’s leadership brings new momentum to this vital mission. There is also some unfinished business in Congress that can help fill the gaps in efforts to combat international terrorism.

“In 2008, the Senate approved treaties calling for countries to enact appropriate legal frameworks to criminalize offenses related to nuclear terrorism and to make it easier to investigate and prosecute would-be nuclear terrorists. But Congress still needs to enact implementing legislation before the United States can ratify these treaties.

“I intend to work with the administration and my colleagues to make sure that such legislation is enacted as quickly as possible. Improving our ability to investigate and prosecute people who would undertake the most heinous of crimes is another critical step in our campaign to make the world safer from nuclear weapons.

“The specific measures that we expect to address are the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, and the counter-terrorism amendments and protocols related to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the Convention concerning Safety of Maritime Navigation. These are important tools that will strengthen international cooperation against the threat of nuclear terrorism.”