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April 17, 2009

Joint Statement by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, President Mikhail Gorbachev and Secretary George Shultz

Joint Statement by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, President Mikhail Gorbachev and Secretary George Shultz "Overcoming Nuclear Dangers" Conference, Rome, Italy

April 16-17, 2009

Today, there is a growing recognition – both inside and outside of governments – of the need to embrace the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and the urgent steps necessary to overcome the nuclear dangers that we all face.

Over the past two days in Rome, we have engaged in a substantive dialogue on many of the practical steps that will need to be taken, including possible "Base Camps" leading up to the nuclear weapons-free mountaintop and supportive measures in other areas of arms control and security cooperation. Some participants also raised the issue of measures to reduce conventional arms and demilitarize international relations. We agreed on the importance of deep reductions in nuclear weapons as required by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and on the crucial imperative of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in security policies.

We addressed the challenges and opportunities posed by the expansion of nuclear energy as well as the key issue of strengthening the security of nuclear materials. The most essential point: we must work together in a joint enterprise to effectively reduce nuclear dangers.

The meeting in London of President Medvedev of Russia and President Obama of the United States and their planned meeting in Moscow will open up prospects for practical cooperation on the way to nuclear disarmament. The current resetting of U.S.- Russia relations that we all fully support includes, as one of its central tasks, the movement toward a nuclear weapons-free world, responding to the hopes of people everywhere for a stable and prosperous world without nuclear weapons. Other countries, both nuclear and non-nuclear, must join in this process.

The process we have pursued here in Rome must continue. Dialogues such as these are an essential bridge to actions that will improve global security. We are all obliged to act – and we pledge to do our part in our own countries toward this end.