On the eve of his Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama issued a dire warning: terrorist groups are trying to obtain nuclear weapons -- and they will use it.
“We know that organizations like al Qaeda are in the process of trying to secure a nuclear weapon -- a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using," the president said.
Appearing alongside President Zuma of South Africa before a bilateral meeting, Mr. Obama said that "if there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically, and from a security perspective would be devastating.”
Leaders from almost 50 nations are attending the two-day summit, aimed at shoring up efforts to obtain loose nuclear materials throughout the world so they don’t fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue nations. The summit is the third event in the last week in which President Obama is trying to demonstrate a commitment to denuclearization. Last week he issued a new policy on nuclear deterrence and signed a disarmament treaty with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.
South Africa is the only nation in the world that once had a nuclear weapons program and subsequently dismantled the weapons.
"South Africa has special standing in being a moral leader on this issue," President Obama said.