Egypt participates in the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington

Thursday 31-03-2016 07:41 PM

Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri - Archive

CARIO, Mar 31 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday on the sidelines of a Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC.  

In his last year in office, U.S. President Barack Obama hosts the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit as part of a high level diplomatic process he sponsored during his tenure, where world leaders discuss ways to stop nuclear proliferation and strengthen security for existing nuclear materials.

Shukri heads Egypt's delegation that is participating in the two-day Summit along with representatives from over 50 nations.

The foreign ministers discussed bilateral relations, regional developments as well as Egypt's human rights situation.

Kerry affirmed the U.S. commitment to supporting Egypt in its fight against terrorism in addition to boosting Egypt's economic growth. The state department said in a statement that the ministers deliberated the importance of easing restrictions imposed on freedom of expression and civil society organisations in Egypt.

High on the summit's agenda is North Korea's recent provocations and concerns over terrorists' abilities to acquire nuclear weapons. 

North Korea had recently conducted its fourth underground nuclear test, weeks after launching a "satellite-carrying rocket" into space", prompting a tougher response from the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

The two main stated goals of this year's summit are: securing nuclear material and preventing nuclear smuggling around the world.

Russia declined to take part in the summit citing lack of cooperation with partners on the issue of nuclear security, Russian news agency TASS reported.

Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the Summit is considered an opportunity to discuss ways to prevent terrorist organisations including the Islamic State (IS) from possessing nuclear materials.

“We know that terrorist organisations have the desire to get access to these raw materials and to have a nuclear device,” said Rhodes, according to AP.

The first Nuclear Summit was held in Washington, DC in 2010 at Obama's initiative, and was followed by Summits in Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014.

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