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.
For more information about countering nuclear smuggling go to: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/c16403.htm