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Speaking in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned of the nuclear dangers facing the world and the need for all countries to address the challenges posed by nuclear weapons, nuclear proliferation, and the threat that terrorists may acquire nuclear weapons.
Affirming the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, Secretary Clinton noted that "The range and intensity of current nuclear proliferation challenges is alarming." She cited 2 countries whose proliferation activities are causing particular and immediate concern:
"The international community failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. We are now engaged in diplomatic efforts to roll back this development. Iran continues to ignore resolutions from the United Nations Security Council demanding that it suspend its enrichment activities and live up to those international obligations."
Thwarting the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran is critical to shoring up the nonproliferation regime, said Secretary of State Clinton:
"Within the framework of the six-party talks, we are prepared to meet bilaterally with North Korea, but North Korea's return to the negotiating table is not enough. Current sanctions will not be relaxed until Pyongyang takes verifiable, irreversible steps toward complete denuclearization."
Toward Iran, she said, the U.S. and the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, known as the P5+1, are pursuing a dual–track approach:
"If Iran is serious about taking practical steps to address the international community's deep concerns about its nuclear program, we will continue to engage both multilaterally and bilaterally to discuss the full range of issues that have divided Iran and the United States for too long. The door is open to a better future for Iran, but the process of engagement cannot be open-ended."
Secretary of State Clinton said all nations have the responsibility to shore up the nuclear nonproliferation regime and address the current crisis of compliance in which some countries feel they can violate their obligations and defy the Security Council with impunity.
The United States, said Secretary of State Clinton, will continue to work with other nations to counter immediate proliferation threats, while seeking to improve verification, stiffen penalties for non-compliance, disrupt illicit proliferation networks, and reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.