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February 11, 2008

Need for Global Action to Address Nuclear Dangers: International Leaders and Experts to Meet in Norway to Advance the Vision of a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

On 26-27 February, international security leaders and experts will gather in Oslo, Norway to advance ideas for reducing nuclear dangers and a world free of nuclear weapons. The two-day conference, hosted by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Hoover Institution, will focus on viable and innovative disarmament and non-proliferation strategies that can be implemented over the next two to five years and how progress can be made toward achieving longer-term objectives to reduce nuclear dangers.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Støre states: “The hour has come for a new global strategy to address nuclear dangers. This conference of world leaders and experts can help to shape a fresh global agenda for reducing the role, relevance and number of nuclear weapons in the world.”

The meeting builds on activities undertaken by the Norwegian government, which leads the Seven-Nation Initiative on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, including Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Romania, South Africa and the U.K. In their 2005 declaration, the Initiative’s seven foreign ministers stated that “all states must take a strong stand on nonproliferation and disarmament” and that “failure to do so may ultimately imperil peaceful nuclear cooperation and our shared vision for a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The meeting also builds on a recent Hoover/NTI conference “Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons” and two articles--“A World Free of Nuclear Weapons” and “Toward a Nuclear Free World” -- written by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn that were published in The Wall Street Journal. The authors warn that nuclear dangers are growing, that current actions are not adequate to the threat and that, together, countries need to take practical and concrete steps toward the vision of a world without nuclear weapons. They said that: “Without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as fair or urgent. Without the actions, the vision will not be perceived as realistic or possible.”

The Oslo meeting is an important step in building international consensus around steps toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Attendees will discuss, among other issues, what nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states can do to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their security policies; how regional conflicts impact efforts to reduce nuclear dangers; the role of treaties; and the tension between nuclear energy expansion and nonproliferation.

WHAT: International Conference on Achieving the Vision of a World Free of Nuclear Weapons

WHERE: The Grand Hotel, the Rococo Room, Karl Johansgate 31, 0159 Oslo, Norway

WHEN: Tuesday, February 26 and Wednesday, February 27 (see details below)

The following sessions will be open to the news media:

Tuesday, February 26

10:00 – 11: 30            
Opening remarks by Kåre R. Aas, Director General Norwegian Foreign Ministry
Introduction by Jonas Gahr Støre, Foreign Minister of Norway
Opening Keynote by George P. Shultz, Hoover Institution and former U.S. Secretary of State;
Report from Hoover/NTI Conference, “Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons” by Dr. Sidney Drell and Ambassador James Goodby

13:00
Luncheon Speaker, Dr. Mohamad ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Wednesday, February 27

13:40                          
Luncheon Speaker, former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, Co-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative

18:00                          
News conference with Minister Store, Secretary Shultz, Senator Nunn, and other key participants to discuss conference results and next steps