President Bush Calls for Tougher Nuclear Safeguards

Speaking before the National Defense University at Ft. McNair in Washington, the president referred to the sharing of weapons information by the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, saying no new countries should have the ability to enrich or process nuclear material.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf recently pardoned Abdul Qadeer Khan, who led the country’s nuclear weapons program, after Khan admitted to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

President Bush pointed to Khan’s case as proof that nuclear proliferation is a serious global threat.

“The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological or nuclear weapons,” he said. “I’ve made clear to all the policy of this nation: America will not permit the terrorists and dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most deadly weapons.”

He also issued a warning to those involved in the nuclear black market.

“We will find the middlemen, the suppliers and the buyers. … Our message to proliferators must be consistent and it must be clear: ‘We will find you, and we’re not going to rest until you are stopped,'” the president said.

Mr. Bush called for a range of actions aimed at thwarting proliferation, including revamping the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency — the International Atomic Energy Agency — to enhance its powers and barring nations such as Iran, which has been under investigation for proliferation, from sitting on the IAEA’s board of governors.

He said that by next year only countries that have signed an additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty permitting snap inspections of nuclear sites should be allowed to import equipment for civilian nuclear programs.

Mr. Bush renewed his call for the United Nations to pass a resolution criminalizing proliferation, enacting strict export controls and requiring nations to secure sensitive equipment.

He said the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative, which interdicts air and sea shipments of weapons of mass destruction, should be able to take direct action on would-be proliferators.

He also put pressure on the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the roughly 40 nations that provide most of the world’s nuclear technology, to refuse to sell designs and equipment to any country not already capable of making nuclear fuel, CNN reported.