Opening Remarks of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at the Informal Plenary on the future of the Nuclear Security Summit The Hague

March 25, 2014

Prime Minister Rutte,

I thank you for hosting this informal plenary. It is important for us to prepare for the future.

We are glad that President Barack Obama will be hosting the next Nuclear Security Summit in 2016. It is only fitting that this process, which was launched in the United States, is also concluded there.

We know we cannot hold the Summits in perpetuity.

In the past four years, our three Summits have made progress; and our next Summit will cover fresh ground. So our work is cut out for us for the next two years.

But we have to look beyond the present process and beyond 2016.

Let me clarify that there is no such thing as “nuclear security fatigue”. Nuclear security is a continuous national responsibility.

I suggest that in the years to come, we should maintain the political will and high level focus to advance the agenda of nuclear security. Constant vigilance and preparedness at the national level as well as international cooperation are necessary to strengthen nuclear security.

We would also need to broaden participation in this process to widen its ownership to enhance the legitimacy of the process. It makes perfect sense that beyond 2016 the entire membership of the IAEA owns and upholds the decisions taken by the Nuclear Security Summits. In close consultation with the IAEA membership, we should dispel the impression that the NSS process is imposing new mandates on the Agency.

As we go forward, we will have to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. We are not creating parallel mechanisms or a new treaty regime.

Post-2016, the focus should be on synergy and coordination among various components of the nuclear security architecture – which comprises the IAEA, the UN 1540 Committee, conventions on physical protection of nuclear material and the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, and relevant international forums. The IAEA can play a lead role on this in accordance with its Statute.

To take this step, beyond 2016, it is prudent to devolve the process to a lower level, with the backing and continuing interest of leaders. The process, we envisage, could be supported by senior officials and experts. The exact cycle and scope of the follow-up process, led by the IAEA, could be discussed at the 2016 Summit.

In parallel, the IAEA’s three yearly Nuclear Security Conferences will be a means to sustain the present momentum.

By 2016 our four Summits would have put substantial content on the table for follow up and implementation, which are key for strengthened international cooperation.

In future, while implementing our decisions, we have to strike a balance between confidentiality and openness; and steer away from both alarmism and complacency.

Nuclear security must not fade off the leaders’ radar screens.

I thank you.