U.S. and Lithuania sign agreement on countering nuclear smuggling

Secretary Kerry and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linkevicius sign Agreement for Cooperation on Countering Nuclear Smuggling

From Department of State:  Today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius strengthened their countries’ partnership to combat nuclear terrorism by signing an agreement to advance protection against nuclear and radiological smuggling.

This “Joint Action Plan between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on Combating Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials and Related Technology” expresses the intention of the two governments to work together to enhance Lithuania’s capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear smuggling incidents and to share experience with other countries in the region. The plan is the eleventh such agreement concluded, and Lithuania is the program’s second European Union and NATO partner. It is also one of the many steps the United States and Lithuania are taking to implement the commitments both nations made at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.

The newly signed plan includes steps to enhance Lithuania’s control of its radioactive materials, foster cooperation among its domestic agencies, expand the country’s role as a mentor to regional partners, and review and strengthen the Lithuanian Penal Code to ensure all types of nuclear smuggling cases can be prosecuted. Lithuania also has established a Nuclear Security Center of Excellence, and the United States is supporting Lithuania’s efforts to develop a counter nuclear smuggling curriculum for this center and host regional training courses.

Today’s signing reflects the common conviction of the United States and Lithuanian Governments that nuclear smuggling is a critical and ongoing global threat that requires a coordinated, global response. As a gateway to the European Union, Lithuania has an important role to play in that effort, and this agreement strengthens an already excellent partnership that will make the United States, Lithuania, and Europe more secure.

From Department of StateRemarks by Secretary of State John Kerry With Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius at a Signing Ceremony for Cooperation on Countering Nuclear Smuggling

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much, it’s a great pleasure for me to be here with my friend the Foreign Minister Linkevicius, and we have met before and talked about this and other issues. I want to thank Lithuania for its large size role in taking leadership with respect to this. As was mentioned a moment ago, this is only the second plan with a European or NATO member country that creates a significant step forward with respect to our ability to be able to stop nuclear smuggling. And it is the second plan of all the 11 that have been signed that actually sets out benchmarks and commitments, specifically, that will be undertaken to be met in order to prevent that transfer.

It will also create a nuclear security center of excellence, which is an ability of Lithuania to take the lead in developing expertise and transferring that expertise to other people as well as becoming a training center for people to learn how to do a better job. This will keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, out of bad actors. It’s a very important step, and we’re very, very grateful to your country for its leadership. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER LINKEVICIUS: If I may also respond. Thank you, Mr. Secretary for this, and it’s really – it reminds me – by the way, it reminds me again, and all of us, this shocking events in Boston. Why I’m saying this, was terrorism. And what we’re going to sign here, prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials, it also has to do with the fight with terrorists – have no borders. And every country, being big or small, we have a role here. Just we should be united all of us and try to add some value. So thank you for your cooperation, your assistance, for being able to be part of this. And the center of excellence is already operational, as you know. I hope to be regional in the future.

I have to say that it’s also our head of state, she is the ownership of this. This is very important. She talked about happen previous nuclear summit. Now we’re signing this on the eve of next summit next year. That’s very important. And also let me add one point: What we’re doing here, it’s just another milestone to a foundation of overall strategic partnership between our country and the United States, which we value very much. And really our alliance is stronger as ever. So thank you once again for this.  (photo: Department of State)

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