Ambassador Alkaabi, Assistant Secretary Rose, Colleagues and Friends,
First, let me thank our generous hosts for the warm welcome to the beautiful city of Abu Dhabi. In particular, I want to thank Ambassador Alkaabi, who is also a Member of the Board of Directors at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, or NTI. We are deeply grateful for the support you are providing to this important project.
I am delighted to be here today to help advance the work of the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.
About five years ago, NTI began to gather international experts to explore technical and political barriers to future arms reductions. A key recommendation of the report that resulted from those meetings focused on developing capacity and creating a dialogue between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states. This recommendation developed into our initiative today, and we are proud to be partners with the U.S. Department of State and all of you in the IPNDV.
The cornerstone of any nuclear weapons disarmament agreement is the ability to verify that the parties to a nuclear disarmament treaty are meeting their obligations. Although the environment for reaching the goal of a world without nuclear weapons seems formidable, we know from history that the landscape can change quickly and progress is always possible.
As we meet here, we are preparing for a future that can be more peaceful and more secure.
But this is not just a visionary project. We believe there is enormous value in the process of sharing knowledge, challenging assumptions, and building capacity between states with nuclear weapons and those without them.
For the short and long term, NTI is committed to laying the technical and policy groundwork for your progress on arms reduction and verification efforts.
The outcomes from the three working groups are impressive.
- Three Working Groups have made substantial progress in developing a common understanding of the challenges and potential solutions associated with nuclear disarmament verification.
- The Monitoring and Verification Resource Collection, developed through the project, is the most comprehensive bibliography available of studies and reports on key aspects of disarmament verification. This can be found on NTI’s website.
- Our three IPNDV Plenary meetings have sparked important conversations, questions and new perspectives.
- And we are mapping verification capacity in participating states through a questionnaire developed by NTI and Norway. I encourage all of you to complete it, as soon as possible.
Looking to the future, NTI is committed to supporting an enduring IPNDV initiative. We will be with you through the timely completion of our first phase of work in 2017 and beyond.
Before I close, I’d like to personally thank Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose for the steadfast support and outstanding leadership he has provided for the IPNDV. His commitment to this project is an inspiration to all of us, and it is a pleasure for NTI to be working with you. Thank you!
I will now ask my colleague Andrew Bieniawski, NTI’s Vice President for Material Security and Minimization, tell you more about this week’s work plan.
Again, many thanks to the hospitality of our Emirati hosts. I wish you all a pleasant and productive week of work.