- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2007

Nuclear threats

The United States and Russia are the only two countries that can make the world safe for nuclear power, according to the U.S. ambassador in Moscow.

Ambassador William J. Burns, in a recent speech, reviewed how Washington and Moscow competed during the Cold War and are mostly cooperating today in efforts to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons, secure each country’s deadly arsenal of nuclear weapons and develop safer power plants for generating civilian nuclear energy.

“There are no other two states on this planet who have the history, the capacity and the common purpose that the two of us can apply to this issue,” he told an audience at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

“It is sometimes difficult, amidst all the mutual frustration in our relationship these days, to focus on that singular reality. But an enormous amount of good can come from Russian-American leadership on the nuclear challenges of our time, whether it is the development of international fuel centers or new proliferation-resistant nuclear technology or diplomatic solutions on North Korea and Iran.”

Mr. Burns noted that President Eisenhower called for the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a U.N. speech more than 50 years ago and added that the U.S.-Russian responsibility to guarantee safe atomic power will fall to the successors of President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Let us hope that a half-century from now, when historians look back at this era, just as we are looking back at Eisenhower’s plea to harness atoms for peace, they will see that we seized this moment boldly and did all we could to shape events for the better,” the ambassador said.

Mr. Burns cited U.S.-Russian cooperation in goals aimed at reducing each nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, listing the Moscow Treaty signed by the two presidents five years ago. He also praised Moscow’s compliance with the Cooperative Threat Reduction program that has eliminated “thousands of warheads and hundreds of missiles.”

The United States has criticized Russia for building a nuclear power station in Iran, citing the risks of Iran using spent fuel to develop a nuclear weapon. However, Russia has insisted that it is adding all safeguards to prevent Iran from reprocessing the fuel into weapons-grade material.

Mr. Burns added that both nations have increased security to prevent the theft of the remaining nuclear weapons and the two presidents are currently working on a nuclear energy agreement to allow both countries to provide safe nuclear power assistance to developing nations.

“In the past year, Russian and the United States have launched an extremely important, if still largely unnoticed, diplomatic initiative to build practical global cooperation to combat nuclear terrorism,” Mr. Burns added.

“I can think of no better example of how crucial American and Russian leadership has become than this new global initiative against nuclear terrorism.”

Jordan’s vision

Jordan’s new ambassador introduced himself as a diplomat dedicated to “building upon my country’s close ties with the United States and the American people.”

Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, writing in the latest edition of the Jordanian Embassy’s newsletter, said his country “has shared a long history of mutual respect and close friendship with the United States” since the Hashemite kingdom was founded in 1946.

The ambassador, educated at Johns Hopkins University and at Britain’s Christ’s College at Cambridge, served as a Jordanian diplomat at the United Nations for more than 10 years, first as its deputy ambassador and then as ambassador from 2000 to 2007.

At the United Nations, he helped establish the International Criminal Court and was elected the first president of the court’s governing body. From 1994 to 1996, he served as political affairs officer with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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