Kerry signs joint action plan with Lithuania to stop nuclear trafficking

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius signed a joint action plan on Tuesday to combat illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials.

Kerry and Linkevicius met in Brussels at NATO headquarters to sign the document. The political arrangement expresses the intent for the U.S. and Lithuania to work together to increase the latter's capabilities to detect, prevent and respond to nuclear smuggling incidents. The plan strengthens an existing partnership between the two nations to make the U.S., Lithuania and Europe more secure.

"This is only the second plan with a European or NATO member country that creates a significant step forward with respect to our ability to be able to stop nuclear smuggling," Kerry said. "And it is the second plan of all the 11 that have been signed that actually sets out benchmarks and commitments, specifically, that will be undertaken to be met in order to prevent that transfer. It will also create a nuclear security center of excellence, which is an ability of Lithuania to take the lead in developing expertise and transferring that expertise to other people as well as becoming a training center for people to learn how to do a better job. This will keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, out of bad actors."

Linkevicius said the plan was just another milestone to the foundation of an overall strategic partnership between the U.S. and Lithuania that would further strengthen their alliance.

"What we're going to sign here, prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive materials, it also has to do with the fight with terrorists - (who) have no borders," Linkevicius said. "And every country, being big or small, we have a role here. Just we should be united all of us and try to add some value. So thank you for your cooperation, your assistance, for being able to be part of this."