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World Leaders Discuss Nuclear Terror Deterrents at Miami Conference

June 11, 2007  | 

Officials from around the globe will congregate in Miami for an intensive five-day conference where they will participate in mock terrorist attacks and devise ways to track nuclear substances, safe-guard nuclear facilities, and combat trafficking of nuclear materials.

Participants in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Law Enforcement Conference include leaders from the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and Canada, according to the Associated Press.

"The goal is to develop a liaison for future joint training initiatives," says Dr. Vahid Majidi, assistant director of the FBI's Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. "We are putting everyone around the same table for the first time and we have to speak a common language."

Majidi adds that the meetings will focus on investigation of terrorist attacks pertaining to nuclear and radioactive materials while analyzing how law enforcement can work conjointly with technical experts to combat the aforementioned threats.

Brian Finlay, a senior associate at the Washington-based Henry L. Stimson Center, calls the initiative a positive step but asserts that it will have limited power against nuclear weapon proliferation because officials from the countries posing the greatest concerns with regard to nuclear proliferation and sales—Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea—will not be in attendance.

"It certainly misses some of the big threats that are out there," says Finlay. "Is it really building capacity to fight proliferation? That's a leap."

Majidi counters that the agenda of the conference is about opening a dialog among countries with a common goal. "It's really designed to truly bring the players together to establish ground rules that allow us on a long-term basis to combat nuclear terrorism," says Majidi.

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