US, Kyrgzstan sign pact to combat nuclear smuggling

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NEW YORK, Oct 1 (Reuters) The United States and Kyrgyzstan signed an agreement to prevent nuclear material from being smuggled through the Central Asian nation.

The deal, signed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ednan Karabayev yesterday, calls for strengthening Kyrgyzstan's ability to prevent, detect and combat efforts to smuggle nuclear materials, the State Department said in a statement.

Kyrgyzstan does not possess nuclear weapons but it has radioactive material and is a potential transit point for such material from other nations, said a US official, who asked not to be named.

The official said the steps to be taken include buying equipment to detect nuclear material at border crossings, cataloging all such material in the country and finding ways to detect radioactive material that may be transported across unpatrolled sections of the border.

The United States, which has signed similar deals with Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia, plans to find find funding from the US government or other nations to pay for the work.

Reuters MP VP0505

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