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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Talks on Terrorists, Nuclear Weapons

ANKARA, Turkey -- The world's five leading nuclear powers and eight other countries opened a two-day meeting Monday in Ankara in an international effort to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The meeting comes amid heightened global concern over nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.

Delegations from the United States and the other countries who form the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism gathered as talks in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear program have stalled over disagreements on energy assistance for the North in exchange for its abandonment of nuclear weapons. Tehran, meanwhile, adopted a milder tone amid suspicions that it is trying to develop such weapons.

The world's five leading nuclear powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- form the core of the initiative, which aims to provide guidelines for keeping track of radioactive materials, ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities and combating illicit trafficking of weapons materials.

While Russia and the United States have been at odds on how to rein in Iran's controversial nuclear program, the two countries combined to provide the impetus for this international effort to keep nuclear arms from terrorist groups.

The group, which also includes Italy, Japan, Canada, China, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Australia and Morocco, hopes the initiative will lead to better security for nuclear materials and knowledge.

The United States and its allies are seeking to force Iran to halt uranium enrichment, which can produce material for fueling nuclear reactors but also for nuclear warheads.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Sunday that Iran would not give up uranium enrichment but said he was prepared to negotiate with other countries. His speech fell short of an expected announcement that Iran had started installing 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at its Natanz plant.