February 18, 2016

Geneva, Switzerland

Ambassador Robert A. Wood


U.S. Mission Geneva,Amb-Wood
Thursday, February 18, 2016

I would like to welcome you to the U.S. Mission in Geneva for what I hope will be the first of many productive Working Group Meetings of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV).

In 2014, U.S. Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller announced the establishment of the IPNDV, to be implemented in collaboration with the non-governmental organization Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).  The Partnership’s purpose is to bring together expertise from states that possess nuclear weapons, and states that do not, to work together to better understand and overcome the technical challenges of verifying nuclear disarmament.

The U.S. support for the Partnership is a reflection of our commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons – a goal that President Obama outlined in Prague in 2009.  Through a practical, full spectrum approach to nuclear disarmament, we have made real progress toward this objective.  The United States is committed to working with all states that share this goal to promote dialogue and tackle the challenges that must be overcome.  In his Prague speech, President Obama cautioned that complete disarmament will occupy the efforts of successive generations—but the magnitude of our challenge will not deter us from working towards the future we collectively seek.

I would like to particularly welcome the co-chairs of the working groups that will be meeting today and tomorrow:  Emmanuele Farruggia of Italy and Ambassador Piet de Klerk of the Netherlands who will chair Working Group 1; and Jens Wirstam of Sweden and Kurt Siemon from the United States who will chair Working Group 3.

I would also like to recognize Dr. Robert Floyd from Australia and Colonel Marek Sobotka from Poland who will chair Working Group 2 when it convenes here on Monday and Tuesday.

The success of the Partnership will be determined primarily by the efforts of these technical working groups, and we are fortunate that this work will be led by such capable and committed experts.

I would also like to recognize NTI for their continued support of IPNDV.  NTI is a valuable partner in this initiative, bringing critical experience and technical expertise in this field.  And, perhaps equally important, they are generously providing lunch and refreshments for the working group meetings.

Colleagues, despite today’s difficult security environment, there is still important, practical work to be done to lay the foundation and create the conditions for further progress on nuclear disarmament.  By focusing on the technical challenges, we can make real and important progress toward our shared disarmament goals, independent of the ebbs and flows of the political environment, and open new lanes of multilateral cooperation to achieve those goals.  This is why the work you will be doing is so important. The IPNDV provides a forum for both countries that possess nuclear weapons, and those countries that do not, to work together to make tangible progress on the common goal of disarmament.

I wish you a productive set of meetings over the next few days, and I look forward to hearing the results of your discussions.