US, Armenia Discuss Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative

YEREVAN–The United States and Armenian governmen’s Monday held initial discussions at the US Embassy to consider the Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative. The talks were aimed at negotiating a bilateral action plan to combat nuclear smuggling.
Representatives of the US Departmen’s of State, Energy, and Homeland Security, as well as experts from the European Union and International Atomic Energy Agency were joined by 19 representatives from 11 Armenian government agencies, including the National Security Service, the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, the Border Guard Service, the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Agency, the Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Prosecutor General’s Office, State Customs Committee, Ministry of Nature Protection, Armenian Rescue Service, and Ministry of Defense.
American and Armenian officials discussed modes of potential cooperation in preventing, detecting, and responding to illicit trafficking of nuclear and highly radioactive materials. Both sides affirmed the need for a coordinated response to combat nuclear smuggling.
Through NSOI, the United States has already entered into joint action plans to combat nuclear trafficking with Ukraine, Georgia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan, and has a tentative agreement with Tajikistan.
The United States and Armenia hope that the NSOI will promote greater US-Armenian cooperation on international security issues. American officials plan to return to Armenia in spring, 2008 to continue discussion of the NSOI.

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