Nalbandian, Rice Meet in Washington

WASHINGTON–Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian signed on July 14 the “Joint Action Plan between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Armenia on Combating Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials.”

This political agreement expresses the intention of the two governmen’s to cooperate to increase the capabilities of the Republic of Armenia to prevent, detect, and respond effectively to attempts to smuggle nuclear or radioactive materials. It specifies twenty-eight agreed steps that the two governmen’s intend to be taken for this purpose.

The governmen’s agree that they will proceed along parallel paths in implementing this action plan. The Republic of Armenia intends to implement those steps that it is capable of carrying out on its own. For those steps where assistance is needed, the United States intends to seek to identify sources, from within either the U.S. government or the international community, to provide such assistance. This assistance would complement and be carefully coordinated with the aid the Republic of Armenia is already receiving from various U.S. and international assistance programs.

With this agreement, the U.S. and Armenian governmen’s are significantly enhancing their collaborative efforts to combat the threat that nuclear or highly radioactive materials could be acquired by terrorists or others who would use them to harm us.

This is the fifth agreement of this nature that has been concluded by the U.S. government’s Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative. Previous agreemen’s were completed with Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and the Kyrgyz Republic, and the U.S. government intends to conclude similar agreemen’s with approximately twenty additional countries where the risk of nuclear smuggling is of particular concern. To date, eight countries and three international organizations have partnered with the U.S. government to provide assistance to support implementation of these agreemen’s.

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