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White House says nuclear-free world achievable

world Updated: Apr 05, 2009 10:28 IST
AP
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President Barack Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear arms is an achievable goal and the president will pursue it with an eye on the lessons learned from four decades of difficult diplomacy, the White House said on Saturday.

The comments by Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, came aboard Air Force One on the eve of the president’s speech in Prague on nonproliferation.

McDonough said the twin issues of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation provide the United States and its allies with a powerful argument to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.

The challenge is to maintain an effective deterrent as long as there’s any threat in the world, McDonough told reporters.

But the “age-old bargain” at the heart of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is that nuclear powers will work to get rid of nuclear weapons, and non-nuclear states will not seek that new technology, said McDonough.

Obama wants to reinforce that bargain, said McDonough. In doing so, the White House official invoked the names of former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James Baker, as well as former Sen Sam Nunn. Kissinger was in the administration of President Richard Nixon while Baker was in the administration of George HW Bush.

McDonough made clear the road is a perilous one. How does Obama get to complete nuclear disarmament? a reporter asked McDonough.

“He gets to it very carefully,” McDonough replied.

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