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Good afternoon, everyone. Greetings from Jeju Island in the Republic of Korea. I want to thank you for inviting me to virtually join all of you today, and hope that we will have an opportunity to meet in-person in the near future.

It is a pleasure to be a part of today’s workshop focused on the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material – the A/CPPNM.

I applaud the collaboration between the African Center for Science and International Security and the Nuclear Threat Initiative on this important topic. Thank you all for your sustained focus on bringing African countries together to build a regional nuclear security network.

The A/CPPNM is a critical link in the international legal framework to prevent the proliferation and misuse of nuclear material, along with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (the NPT) and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Nuclear security is a collective endeavor and universal adherence to the A/CPPNM that would harmonize national approaches to preventing and responding to criminal and other unauthorized acts involving nuclear material and facilities, thereby helping to reduce the likelihood of malicious acts and strengthening nuclear security at national, regional, and international levels.

Your participation today demonstrates the shared value each of you place on ensuring the security of nuclear and other radioactive material used for peaceful purposes.

The establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone on the African continent over a decade ago echoes a key objective of the A/CPPNM – the physical protection worldwide of nuclear material and facilities used for peaceful purposes through effective nuclear security measures is of vital importance for the protection of public health, safety, the environment, and national and international security.

Nuclear security allows us to harness the peaceful uses of nuclear technology – from combatting climate change to fighting cancer and other diseases to achieving food safety and security – we know that nuclear technologies have an amazing role to play in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Nuclear security also complements nuclear science and technology exchanges and cooperation activities.

Therefore, joining and fully implementing the A/CPPNM is a crucial part of ensuring the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Becoming a party to the A/CPPNM can be a challenging process, but not insurmountable. Since last year’s Review Conference, three countries have become a party, including Mozambique. We must continue to deepen regional cooperation to achieve even greater progress in meeting universal adherence.

On implementation, in the lead up to the Review Conference, seven countries informed the Secretariat of its laws and regulations under Article 14.1 that give effect to the A/CPPNM.

Two of those seven countries were Mali and Nigeria. Not only has the number of 14.1 submissions increased, but African countries are playing a greater role in this area.

At the conclusion of the Review Conference, parties expressed concern with existing and emerging threats and risks and highlighted the need for international cooperation on identifying and addressing these challenges.

Over the course of the next two days, I encourage you to work together to identify pressing challenges, areas that require further attention, and examples of good practices or lessons learned that can help us make further progress.

I urge you to put new energy behind this effort by sharing your observations, solutions, and achievements with colleagues and integrate these into your national statements on nuclear security during meetings such as the IAEA Board of Governors and/or the General Conference, and the next International Conference on Nuclear Security (otherwise known as ICONS) in May 2024.

And in the spirit of continuing the momentum after the Review Conference, we strongly encourage you to set measurable goals, including ratifying the A/CPPNM before ICONS.

A/CPPNM universalization and implementation are key nuclear security priorities for my government. We greatly appreciate these regional events that afford us the opportunity to collaboratively advance these goals.

Let us not lose the momentum.

I look forward to seeing the progress you inspire. Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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