Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 28, 2009

U.S. and South African senior officials discussed a broad range of nonproliferation and disarmament issues August 26 – 28 in Pretoria, South Africa. State Department Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Robert J. Einhorn led the U.S. interagency delegation. The meeting followed President Obama’s and President Zuma’s decision at the July 8-10 G-8 summit to expand our bilateral dialogue on these issues.

South Africa will be an important partner in building international consensus and momentum among nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states on our shared nonproliferation and disarmament agenda. A key objective of this week’s meetings was for the United States to learn more about South Africa’s views on strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime before, during, and after the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

In his April 5, 2009, speech in Prague, President Obama outlined an ambitious nonproliferation and disarmament agenda, including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons—a goal that South Africa shares. As the only state to have developed and then given up all its nuclear weapons to join the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state, South Africa bears unique credibility and perspective on these issues. Recognizing this perspective and its regional and global leadership on these topics, the United States seeks South Africa’s input as we refine our approaches to making the Prague speech vision a reality. The United States looks forward to expanded consultations and cooperation as we work together to promote disarmament and reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation. We will also increase our efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, which includes securing all vulnerable nuclear material and is the focus of the President’s Nuclear Security Summit in March 2010. In lockstep with these efforts, we will also intensify our cooperation to further all countries’ efforts to meet their ever-growing energy needs.

We expect these talks to be the first of a series of consultations between the United States and South Africa in the coming years to advance our commonly shared nonproliferation, disarmament, and energy security objectives.

PRN: 2009/859