I am very pleased, Minister, that we were able to do this. It has been a very important bilateral matter that our respective governments have worked diligently on. And it is an incredibly significant subject, combating the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials. There is no greater threat to the safety and security of our world than preventing nuclear or highly radioactive materials coming into the hands of terrorists, and it’s a danger that no one country can protect against on its own. And today, Slovakia has made an important commitment to our collective efforts, and we are very appreciative.
My country has now signed nine such agreements with other countries around the world, but this is the first one we have signed with an EU nation and a NATO ally. So this agreement reflects Slovakia’s strategic importance as a gateway to the EU as well as your government’s commitment to exercising leadership in advancing nuclear security.
As you already have heard, this agreement takes the form of an action plan. It specifies more than 40 steps our two governments intend to take to strengthen our mutual capacity to prevent, detect, and respond more effectively to the threat of nuclear smuggling. The United States has guaranteed our efforts to work with you to make sure that it’s not only the two of us working together but our neighbors, and particularly Slovakia’s neighbors, because in a networked world like the one we live in today, all nations have to be committed to this joint effort.
So, Mr. Dzurinda, I am grateful to you for your leadership, to the people and Government of Slovakia, and thank you for being here with me for this important signature.