MOSCOW, DECEMBER 5, 2012. PIR-PRESS – “Nunn-Lugar is the foundation for the vision that I laid out, once I was elected President, in travel to Prague. Russia has said that our current agreement hasn’t kept pace with the changing relationship between our countries. To which we say, let’s update it. Let’s work with Russia as an equal partner. Let’s continue the work that’s so important to the security of both our countries. And I’m optimistic that we can.” – Barack Obama, President of the United States.
On December 3, 2012, re-elected President of the United States Barack Obama spoke at the National War College, Washington, D.C. addressing the 20th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, its main achievements and prospects and most critical problems of the WMD nonproliferation regime at the present stage.
According to the U.S. President Cooperative Threat Reduction program is the foundation of a nuclear weapons free world vision presented by him in Prague in 2009. Obama calls on Russia to review its decision to withdraw from the Program in 2013: “Russia has said that our current agreement hasn’t kept pace with the changing relationship between our countries. To which we say, let’s update it. Let’s work withRussiaas an equal partner. Let’s continue the work that’s so important to the security of both our countries. And I’m optimistic that we can.”
PIR Center President Vladimir Orlov commented on the situation around Nunn-Lugar Program in PIR Center blog (post in Russian) saying that “for Russia it would be the most short-sighted step to simply cease participation in the program next year – repeating the same mistake that it has already made with regard to the International Science and Technology Center. In 2013 in place of Nunn-Lugar there has to appear a new very compact program of Russia-U.S. nuclear cooperation, aimed at integration of the record of recent years; joint investments in human factor – so that equipment and knowledge, that specialists gained in the framework of the Nunn-Lugar program and the Global Partnership, are used properly by current and future generations; joint - hand in hand – efforts to transfer this experience to new geographical grounds.”
Similar message is promoted by member of the PIR Center Advisory Board, President of the Ploughshares Fund Joseph Cirincione in his commentary published in The Washington Post: “The [Nunn-Lugar] program and activity up to now has survived the cycles of relations. Of course it’s mutually beneficial. It’s in everyone’s interests to secure these weapons.”
In 2013, PIR Center will intend to give its priority attention to the issue of nuclear security and international cooperation in this sphere. New project has been launched - “Russia-U.S. cooperation in the sphere of nuclear security after Nunn-Lugar: recommendations for 2013 and onward”. Under the auspices of this project, in 2013 PIR Center will hold a number of expert meetings resulting in preparation of a study that will reflect different viewpoints on the future of Russia-U.S. and multilateral nuclear security cooperation.
Within the framework of those activities, on December 3-5, 2012 PIR Center President Vladimir Orlov and PIR Center Education and Training Program Director Albert Zulkharneev visit Washington to meet with representatives of the U.S. National Security Council, Department of State, Department of Defense and Department of Energy and discuss prospects of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the spheres of nuclear security and nonproliferation.
For all information regarding PIR Center projects related to nuclear security, nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament please contact "Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation" Program Coordinator Alexander Kolbin, tel.: +7 (495) 987-19-15, fax: +7 (495) 987-19-14, email: kolbin at pircenter.org.