Speech highlights - Obama sees world without nuclear arms

PRAGUE Sun Apr 5, 2009 1:19pm BST

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PRAGUE (Reuters) - Following are quotes from U.S. President Barack Obama's speech in Prague Sunday.

ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

"The United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake, as long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee that defence to our allies, including the Czech Republic. We will begin the work of reducing our arsenal. To reduce our warheads and stockpiles we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians this year."

ON IRAN

"My administration will seek engagement with Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect."

"We will lead a dialogue. And in that dialogue we will present a clear choice. We want Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations, politically and economically."

"We will support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections. That is a path that the Islamic Republic can take."

"Or the government can choose increased isolation, international pressure, and a potential nuclear arms race in the region that will increase insecurity for all."

"Let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbours and our allies."

ON MISSILE Defence

"As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defence system that is cost-effective and proven."

"If the Iranian threat is eliminated we will have a stronger basis for security. And the driving force for missile defence construction in Europe will be removed."

ON NUCLEAR TREATIES

"And to cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons."

"If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons grade materials that create them."

"Second, together, we will strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a basis for cooperation."

"To strengthen the Treaty, we should embrace several principles. We need more resources and authority to strengthen international inspections. We need real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the Treaty without cause."

"And we should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation."

"We must harness the power of nuclear energy on behalf of our efforts to combat climate change, and to advance opportunity for all people. We go forward with no illusions."

ON NORTH KOREA

"This morning, we were reminded again why we need a new and more rigorous approach to address this threat."

"North Korea broke the rules once more by testing a rocket that could be used for a long-range missile. This provocation underscores the need for action, not just this afternoon at the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons. Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response."

"North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons."

ON TEST BAN TREATY

"To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty."

ON AFGHANISTAN

"NATO's mission in Afghanistan is fundamental to the safety of people on both sides of the Atlantic."

"We are targeting the same al Qaeda terrorists who have struck from New York to London, and helping the Afghan people take responsibility for their future."

"We are demonstrating that free nations can make common cause on behalf of our common security."

ON RENEWING PROSPERITY

"To renew our prosperity, we need action coordinated across borders. That means investments to create new jobs. That means resisting the walls of protectionism that stand in the way of growth. That means a change in our financial system, with new rules to prevent abuse and future crisis."

ON CLIMATE

"To protect our planet, now is the time to change the way that we use energy."

"Together, we must confront climate change by ending the world's dependence on fossil fuels, by tapping the power of new sources of energy like the wind and sun, and calling upon all nations to do their part."

"And I pledge to you that in this global effort, the United States is now ready to lead."

ON GLOBAL SECURITY

"One terrorist, one nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction."

"Al Qaeda has said that it seeks a bomb and that it would have no problem with using it. And we know that there is unsecured nuclear material across the globe."

"To protect our people, we must act with a sense of purpose without delay."

"Today, I am announcing a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years."

ON COOPERATION

"To denounce, or shrug off, a call for cooperation is an easy but also cowardly thing to do. That is how wars begin. That's where human progress ends."

"There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it, not by splitting apart, but by standing together as free nations, as free people. I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together."

(Reporting by Jason Hovet, Jana Mlchochova, Martin Dokoupil; Matt Spetalnick; editing by Angus MacSwan)

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