White House: Ukraine will get rid of all nuke material by 2012

Ukraine’s president has told the U.S. his country will dispose of its nuclear material, providing an early victory for President Barack Obama’s nuclear security summit.  

Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych said his country would “get rid” of its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium by 2012, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Gibbs spoke after a meeting between Obama and Yanukovych.

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“This is something the United States has wanted to make happen for several years,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs could not say where the uranium would go.

“That's a process that we'll be working on,” Gibbs said. “The United States will provide some degree of both technical and financial assistance to ensure that it happens.”

Leaders and officials from 47 countries descended on Washington on Monday for Obama's nuclear security summit.

The president was to hold a series of bilateral meetings on Sunday and Monday before beginning the summit in earnest later Monday.

Gibbs said Monday's announcement was a positive step toward preventing nuclear material from winding up in the hands of terrorists.