|Najib Attends Nuclear Security Summit
From Tham Choy Lin
WASHINGTON, April 13 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak joined host President Barack Obama and other world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit here Tuesday after days of intense lobbying by Washington to gain support to pressure Iran over its nuclear weapons programme.
Bringing together leaders from 46 countries in the U.S capital, Obama is seeking to rein in loose nuclear materials within four years to keep them beyond the reach of terrorist groups.
Citing nuclear terrorism as the single biggest security threat to the world, Obama sought Malaysia's backing to play a role in international non-proliferation especially on Iran in bilateral talks Monday with Najib.
"President Obama is aware of our close relations with Iran. I told President Obama that our policy is clear; Iran has the right to use nuclear power for peaceful means only and that we don't support Iran's nuclear weapons programme," Najib told Malaysian reporters later.
Najib also expressed the hope that Iran would fulfill its responsibility to the global community and refrain from expanding its nuclear capacity which he said could result in instability and confrontation.
Acting Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim accompanied the Prime Minister to the summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center amid a security and traffic lockdown.
Malaysia has long been a fierce opponent of nuclear weapons and a signatory to the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty in 1995, a moratorium pact between the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Malaysia is also the current chair of the board of governors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that is represented at the summit by its director-general Yukiya Amano.
Obama underlined his intent to pursue his agenda, he announced at the opening of Tuesday's plenary session that the next summit would be hosted in South Korea in 2012, taking the pressure to the doorstep of North Korea, another nuclear rogue state.
Both North Korea and Iran were not invited to the summit here, the largest ever gathering of global leaders in Washington.
Obama will chair all three plenary sessions to discuss national and international actions to secure nuclear material and curb illicit trafficking and the role of the IAEA in nuclear security.
During his bilateral meeting with Najib, the U.S president lauded Malaysia's passing of a Strategic Trade Bill recently to outlaw the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The summit will close Tuesday evening with a joint statement and news conference by Obama.