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Georgia, U.S. Sign Deal To Combat Nuclear Smuggling

Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili (file photo) (epa) February 3, 2007 -- Georgia and the United States have signed an agreement to cooperate in the fight against the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Tbilisi on February 2 by Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili and the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, John Tefft.

Under the accord, reports say the United States will provide Georgian experts with equipment and training to help combat nuclear smuggling.

Foreign Minister Bezhuashvili said Georgia hopes to raise to similar levels its antismuggling cooperation with neighboring countries, including Russia.

"Georgia has shown enthusiasm, shown commitment, to be part of the group of countries that aggressively stands against the proliferation," he said. "We wish to have the same kind of agreement with neighbors, and that was my appeal, that we need the same level of engagement and interaction with all neighbors, including Russia."

The signing of the accord came after Georgia last week announced it had last year arrested a Russian citizen who tried to sell weapons-grade uranium to Georgian government agents.

(compiled from agency reports)

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