DUSHANBE, November 18, 2011, Asia-Plus – On Friday November 18, U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Ken Gross and Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi signed the “Joint Action Plan between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan on Combating Smuggling of Nuclear and Radioactive Materials.”

According to the U.S. Embassy, the agreement expresses the commitment of the two governments to collaborate on enhancing Tajikistan''s capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond effectively to attempts to smuggle nuclear or radioactive materials.  President Obama and many other world leaders agree that the threat that nuclear or radioactive materials could be acquired by terrorists is the most immediate and severe security threat facing the world today.

With this agreement, the U.S. and Tajik governments are committing to a partnership to combat that threat.  Tajikistan will implement independently the steps that it can take on its own, and the United States will help to identify sources of funding from within either the U.S. government or the international community to support the steps that require assistance.

Tajikistan is the eighth country with whom an agreement of this nature has been concluded by the U.S. government’s Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative.

The Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative (NSOI) is a U.S. government effort to enhance international partnerships to combat smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials.  NSOI is coordinated by the Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism in the State Department''s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN/WMDT).