Ambassador Pamela L. Spratlen’s Remarks for Handheld Radiation Detector Donation Event

Tashkent, Uzbekistan
February 23, 2018 – 11:00 a.m.
(As Prepared)

Good morning! Ассалому Алейкум! Доброе Утро!

It is an honor to be here today with the State Customs Committee of Uzbekistan to celebrate another milestone in the area of international nuclear security between our two countries.

I’d first like to thank Mr. Jasur Alimovich, the First Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee, the Department of International Customs Cooperation and the Higher Military Customs Institute for hosting this ceremony

U.S. engagement in Uzbekistan aims to support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of this nation, while increasing the Central Asian region’s resilience to transnational security threats.

Cooperation between our two countries on nuclear and radiological nonproliferation has been essential to ensuring a safer and more secure world.

Since 2001, when the United States and Uzbekistan first signed the Defense Relations and Prevention of WMD Proliferation Agreement, the United States and Uzbekistan have been integral partners in preventing the spread of dangerous nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological materials.

Through various programs of the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense, the United States has been a leader in providing technical assistance to Uzbekistan on this issue.

Some of the highlights in our cooperation together include:  the removal of highly enriched uranium from the nuclear reactors at the Institute of Nuclear Physics and Foton sites; the placement of radiation portal monitors at border crossing points and airports throughout Uzbekistan; the donation of hundreds of x-ray machines; and technical exchange visits to the United States and computer classrooms, just to name a few.

But, we also know that our previous achievements together would not have been successful if not for the strong leadership at Customs.  The daily professionalism that each of you display in your work and your steadfast dedication help keep Uzbekistan safe and secure.

Following the Memorandum of Understanding signed on August 1, 2017 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the State Customs Committee, the United States has been developing a plan to work with Customs to enhance Uzbekistan’s ability to detect radioactive materials.

Today’s donation of 230 new, handheld radiation detectors is the first of many milestones envisioned under this new agreement.

With this new equipment, the State Customs Committee will be better able to detect dangerous nuclear and radiological materials at its expanded crossing point facilities.

The United States greatly values Uzbekistan’s increasingly important role in maintaining regional stability, safety, and security.  We are committed to growing our cooperation with Uzbekistan to counter genuine transnational security threats – including the smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials – to ensure a secure and prosperous future for both our nations.

Thank you.  Катта рахмат. Спасибо.

Ambassador Pamela L. Spratlen’s Remarks for Handheld Radiation Detector Donation Event