Ground broken on Kazakhstan lab to strengthen pathogen security

The United States and Kazakhstan have officially broken ground on construction of Kazakhstan's Central Reference Laboratory, which will be used to increase security for Kazakhstan's collection of dangerous pathogens.

"Ladies and gentlemen, today we are making history," U.S. Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the lab.

The lab, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, will also be used to strengthen the scientific capabilities of Kazakhstani and Central Asian scientists.

"Under the leadership of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan and the United States have worked together with great success for nearly two decades to secure and eliminate all forms of weapons of mass destruction," Hoagland said.

Hoagland also praised the work of U.S. Senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn for their recognition of the danger to the security of future generations resulting from the remnants of the Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs soon after Kazakhstan gained its independence.

"With historic foresight, these two U.S. senators convinced the U.S. government and the tax-payers of the United States to fund programs to clean up and secure the remnants of these programs," Hoagland said. "They found a willing partner in independent Kazakhstan." 

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