'High hopes that nuclear protection convention will be ratified this year'

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has 'high hopes that the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material will enter into force this year'. This was his message in an extensive video address on the importance of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS 2014), to be held in The Hague on 24 and 25 March 2014.

The Convention will lead to binding agreements on the protection of nuclear material, not only when in transit, but also while being produced and stored. Two thirds of the participating countries will have to ratify the Convention before it can enter into force. So far, 73 countries have done so. 'The NSS process has sped things up,' said Mr Rutte. On 24 and 25 March, 58 world leaders will be visiting The Hague for the third NSS.

Three objectives

The purpose of the NSS is to prevent nuclear terrorism. 'Luckily, the chances are slight that terrorists will get hold of this material and use it to make a nuclear or dirty bomb. But if they do, the consequences for the world will be serious. So it is literally of vital importance that we reach solid agreements,' said Mr Rutte. The summit has three objectives. 'We want to reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world; we want to better protect the material that still exists; and we want to strengthen international cooperation in this area.'

Speed things up

Mr Rutte believes that the NSS summits have yielded tangible results. 'Thanks to the direct involvement of world leaders, results have been achieved step by step that would otherwise not have been achieved. As chair of NSS 2014, he sees it as his role to 'speed things up'.

Future of NSS process

The summit will also debate the future of the NSS process. Although summits like NSS 2014 are eminently suitable for accelerating progress, in Mr Rutte's opinion, every instrument eventually becomes exhausted. 'For this reason,' he said, 'the Netherlands believes that, after 2016, the NSS objectives can best be promoted via existing structures and organisations.'