President Niinistö and President Obama in the White House before the opening dinner of the Nuclear Security Summit. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö attended Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington from 31 March to 1 April 2016. The summit was hosted by Barack Obama, President of the United States.
The goal of the summit was to reinforce international cooperation in order to prevent nuclear terrorism. Issues discussed included the actions of national authorities, and the role of international organisations and agreements in improving nuclear security. Representatives of around 50 countries and international organisations attended the summit.
At the summit, Finland particularly stressed the importance of sharing information. President Niinistö stated that the sharing of information and intelligence related to nuclear security is of paramount importance in the fight against nuclear terrorism. “No single player can be aware of the overall situation. Gathering information is of the utmost importance,” added President Niinistö. The importance of information sharing was also stressed in a joint statement issued after the summit.
Finland launched an initiative at the meeting, with the aim of improving the capability of countries – through methods such as border control – to detect stolen nuclear or radioactive material. Finland also emphasised the importance of the security of nuclear waste management. Finland is a pioneer in nuclear waste management.
In addition to the discussions held in various sessions, President Niinistö gave the opening speech of the crisis scenario exercise ending the summit.
The summit concluded a series of summits that began on the initiative of President Obama in Washington in 2010. Nuclear Security Summits have also been held in Seoul in 2012 and in the Hague in 2014. Finland has been an invitee to the summits since they began.
President Niinistö thanked President Obama for the initiative, adding that it was ahead of its time. “For once, the international community has begun analysing possible risk factors in advance. We usually only begin wondering what should be done after something has actually gone wrong,” President Niinistö commented.
The Washington summit opened on Thursday night with a working dinner, hosted by President Obama at the White House. In addition, President Niinistö’s programme involved bilateral meetings and discussions with representatives of US research institutions, as well as foreign and security policy experts.
The actions of national authorities and the role of international and institutional actions to improving nuclear security was discussed at the meeting. Photo: Office of the President of the Republic
President Niinistö at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on 1st April 2016. Photo: Nuclear Security Summit 2016
President Niinistö had a meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Washington before the Nuclear Security Summit. Photo: Office of the President of the Republic.
President Niinistö discussed with leaders of American research institutes and think tanks: William Burns of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Michèle Flournoy of the Center for a New American Security, and Strobe Tallbot of the Brookings Institute. Photo: Office of the President of the Republic.