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Monday, March 24, 2014

BELGIUM-U.S. JOINT STATEMENT ON 2014 NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 
Joint Statement by President Obama and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo of Belgium on the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

Belgium and the United States of America are pleased to announce that they have jointly completed the removal of a significant amount of excess highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium from Belgium.

At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, Belgium and the United States pledged to work together to remove this material prior to the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit.  This removal entailed extremely complex operations that required the joint team to develop a new glovebox facility for plutonium packaging, to train and certify personnel in specialized packaging operations, to validate certificates for a U.S.-designed nuclear material package in Belgium, and to address materials in unique and unusual forms.  Despite the significant technical challenges, the team successfully completed the operation on schedule.

The material was safely packaged in transport containers certified by regulators in both the United States and Belgium.  The United States, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) worked seamlessly together and in accordance with all relevant regulations and internationally-recognized recommendations to securely transport this material to its final destination.

Belgium and the United States plan to continue their cooperation to eliminate additional stocks of excess special nuclear material, consistent with their commitment to prevent nuclear terrorism.  They also pledge to work with others in the international community to assist them with the elimination of such materials.

Joint statement by the United States and the Netherlands on Climate Change and Financing the Transition to Low-Carbon Investments Abroad

The Netherlands and the United States share a common interest in urgent action to address global climate change.  We affirm the importance of reaching a global climate change agreement in 2015 that can attract broad and ambitious participation.  The agreement should reflect the continuous evolution of capabilities of countries in tackling this global challenge.  It should also take account of the important role played by the private sector, sub-national actors, and civil society in finding solutions to addressing carbon pollution while improving the resilience of nations to the impacts of climate change.  Our two countries pledge to continue our cooperation towards adopting such an agreement at the United Nations climate conference in Paris in 2015.

We reaffirm our support of internationally agreed commitments to scale up the mobilization of climate finance and recognize that different forms of financing are needed to support countries making the transition to a low-emission, climate resilient economy.  We strive to deploy public resources to catalyze private climate finance in and to developing countries.

We emphasize that our work to scale up climate friendly investments in developing countries is most effective when combined with reducing public incentives for high-carbon infrastructure.  To this end, the Netherlands is joining the United States, the United Kingdom, and others in agreeing to end support for public financing of new coal-fired power plants abroad except in rare circumstances.  This includes our bilateral development finance institutions and projects financed through the multilateral development banks, where it should be noted that the Netherlands is a member of mixed constituencies.  Complementing action already taken by the United States, our two countries are working together to promote a technology-neutral standard in the OECD Export Credit Group that limits support for high carbon intensity power plants by export credit agencies.