Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova’s reply to a media question on Russian assessments of the upcoming fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington (March 31-April 1, 2016)
Question: On March 31, Washington will host the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). What is Russia’s stance regarding this event?
Maria Zakharova: Russia consistently advocates efforts to strengthen nuclear security and physical protection of nuclear facilities and nuclear material and has attended three NSS summits in Washington (2010), Seoul (2012) and The Hague (2014). The summits have played their role, and considerable progress has been made in strengthening nuclear security. However, the political agenda of these summits amongst the NSS heads has already been depleted. We don’t see any objectively looming breakthrough solutions that would require the involvement of heads of state and government in the area of international cooperation on strengthening nuclear security and physical protection of nuclear facilities and nuclear material.
In addition, while preparing for the 2016 NSS summit the organisers drastically altered the event’s concept. They have suggested that certain ‘guidelines’ for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the UN, Interpol and the Global Partnership be issued. Obviously, these recommendations, regardless of their formal status, would become an attempt to impose the opinion of a limited group of states on the above-mentioned international organisations and initiatives in circumvention of their own political decision-making mechanisms.
We consider the creation of a precedent for outside interference in the planning of the work of international organisations, ones which possess significant expert status and which rely on democratic procedures, to be unacceptable. And for this reason President Vladimir Putin has decided to call off Russia’s involvement in preparing for the 2016 NSS summit. We, therefore, believe that the IAEA, which possesses the required expert status, should play the main role in coordinating the international community’s efforts to ensure nuclear security and physical protection of nuclear facilities and material.
January 13, 2016