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Nuclear Security Summit The Hague,   23/24 March 2014

In 2009 President Obama delivered a speech in Prague in which he called nuclear terrorism one of the greatest threats to international security. With that in mind, Mr Obama hosted the first Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington DC in 2010, in order to draw attention, at the highest possible level, to the need to secure nuclear material and thus prevent nuclear terrorism. Forty-seven countries and three international organisations participated in the first summit.


In 2012 the second NSS was held in Seoul. Fifty-three countries and four international organisations were invited. The first summit was concerned with making political agreements, while the follow-up in Seoul focused on the progress made on implementing those agreements. The third NSS, in The Hague in 2014, was centred on the results achieved and the future.


Under the NSS process, countries work to improve their nuclear security on the basis of the Washington Work Plan, which contains numerous  measures  and   action  points.   In  Seoul  a  number  of

additional action points were formulated and set down in the Seoul Communiqué. The NSS process is ongoing, and since 2009 has required world leaders and diplomats to devote extra attention to the issue of nuclear security. Extensive consultations are held in the run-up to every summit. For NSS 2014 this process started in 2012. The negotiators for the various countries, known as Sherpa's and sous Sherpa's, discuss the progress made and confer on key themes, work plans and measures. Ultimately, these negotiations lead to decisions, which were later affirmed at the summit and published in a communiqué.



On March 24th and 25th 2014, 58 world leaders assembled at the World Forum in The Hague to make specific agreements on preventing nuclear terrorism. The summit was also attended by thousands of delegates and journalists. The Netherlands has a global reputation as a country of peace, justice and security. Both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are headquartered in The Hague. The NSS is especially important for us because the Netherlands is home to two major transhipments hubs - Schiphol Airport and the port of Rotterdam - which heightens the risk of nuclear material being smuggled across our borders. This country also has companies in the nuclear sector that require tight security. By hosting the NSS both the world and the Netherlands will be a safer place. The 2014 summit will chart the accomplishments of the past four years, identifying which of the objectives set out in the Washington Work Plan and the Seoul Communiqué have not been met and proposing ways to achieve them.  (source: NSS)



As everyone can imagine hosting the NSS and welcoming many world leaders and delegates needs a lot of security measures. Around Schiphol Airport various prohibited area's were established as well as an area of approximately 185 square kilometres in which camera's and zoom lenses were not allowed. This last area was a real problem for many spotters and aviation photographers. No less than 13.000 police officers and 8.000 military personnel were deployed to the Schiphol and The Hague area. We visited Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport on both the 23rd and 24th of March for the arrivals of the state aircraft. The huge amount of security personnel was widely visible around the airport, so we stayed outside the restricted zone for photographing on the first day.


For the second day different runways were used for arrivals, so we had to find ourselves a new spot for photographing. Despite the arrival of President Obama the police was very friendly on day two. Photographing was allowed inside the restricted zone and we were even able to take some shots along the fence. For the arrival of 'Airforce One' we had some bad luck with the runway in use. The C-32, flying with callsign 'Sam44' arrived suddenly for runway 06, when most photographers were still expecting it for runway 27. After most state aircraft arrived we went to the 'Polderbaan' runway 36L/18R, which was used as apron for the NSS aircraft. We were able to take shots of some of the aircraft parked here from a moving car, so the quality isn't very good.


After two days at Schiphol we also travelled to Rotterdam-Zestienhoven Airport to catch some of the NSS participants. One of the highlights here was the Boeing 777 of the Gabonese Government. Besides the state aircraft the airport also hosted the helicopters for Obama's visit. Six Blackhawks from Wiesbaden AAF were deployed to Rotterdam to be used as support for the 'Marine One' VH-60 which also arrived at Rotterdam earlier that week. Unfortunately both VH-60 Whitehawks were parked inside a hangar, but luckily we were able to take some shots of these at Schiphol.  (Click for a full log)





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