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Belarus To Give Up Nuclear Materials

Belarusian Foreign Minister Syarhey Martynau (file photo)
Belarus says it will give up its stockpile of material used to make nuclear weapons by 2012.

The arrangement was announced on the sidelines of the OSCE summit in Kazakhstan by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her Belarusian counterpart, Syarhey Martynau.

The announcement was touted as a significant step forward in efforts aimed at keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists.

Clinton said Washington will provide technical and financial help to enable Belarus to dispose of its highly enriched uranium stocks.

The amount of material was not mentioned but is believed to be enough to make at least several nuclear bombs.

Belarus in 1994 gave up the nuclear weapons it inherited in the breakup of the Soviet Union, but it retained its highly enriched uranium stocks.

compiled from agency reports