Netherlands ready for start of 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Sunday officially opened the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS)'s International Media Center, saying the Netherlands is ready for the start of the largest summit ever held here.

Speaking at a press conference, Rutte said the NSS to be held in the World Forum in The Hague on March 24-25 aims to prevent nuclear terrorism "by preventing dangerous nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands."

He made the remarks while giving a press conference that featured the official opening of the summit's International Media Center, together with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen.

"The chance that a nuclear bomb falls into the hands of terrorists is small, but the consequences could be enormous," said Rutte. "Therefore we try to do everything we can to prevent nuclear terrorism. That is our goal, to reduce the chance that nuclear material falls into the hands of terrorists."

Rutte said that the summit will also be used by some countries to discuss other issues, with the crisis in the Ukraine being one of them. "Several leaders will take opportunity to talk about other issues outside the highlight of the NSS."

Timmermans said that important results have been achieved on nuclear security in the past four years.

"The NSS is raising awareness at the highest political level and aims at achieving results through international cooperation," the Dutch foreign minister said.

"Leaders have demonstrated that nuclear security is one of their top priorities. We have more miles to cover towards a globally effective nuclear security system, but within this marathon the NSS constitutes a vital sprint," he said.

Leaders from a total of 53 countries and four international organizations will be taking part in the summit. Up to 3,000 journalists are expected to cover the event from the International Media Center, according to Dutch officials.

Themes of the summit are limiting the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world, improving the security of all nuclear material and radioactive sources that already exist, and stepping up international cooperation in these areas, according to the summit's official website.

The Chinese delegation to the summit also opened a 400-square-meter press center at the summit's International Media Center to provide timely information on the delegation.

Tightened security measures can be seen across The Hague and in neighboring major cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam on Sunday, one day before the official start of the NSS 2014, the third such summit after two previous ones were held in Washington D.C. and Seoul in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

The highways towards The Hague were partly closed shortly in the afternoon to make the transport of the leaders to the summit easier. The measure is part of a large security package, the largest security operation ever held in The Netherlands.

Official figures showed that a total of 13,000 police officers, 3,000 soldiers and 4,000 military police will be mobilized during the summit. 

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