|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remark at Customs College
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, April 19, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I am very pleased to be able to visit this very nice Customs College. I am visiting the College today because I wanted to learn more about what you do here, and because border security is an increasingly important aspect of American foreign policy. The United States and Uzbekistan share a common interest in halting terrorism, drug trafficking, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. These are direct threats to our citizens, and to yours.
That's why the United States has been expanding its export control and border security programs, especially in Central Asia. As part of our Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative, we have been providing pagers and other radiation detection equipment to Uzbekistan and other Newly Independent States.
I understand that earlier this month, customs officers from the Chernayevka Border Post used one of those pagers to intercept radioactive material on a truck headed for Pakistan. This was important news in the United States, and some good news. I can't say that I get good news every day, but this was very good news for us. It was reported in our leading newspapers. I'm glad that the pagers and the x-ray inspection system van are being put to good use, and I congratulate the Chernayevka customs officers for a job well done.
I have brought another sixty pagers with me today, to give to the Customs Committee for use along your borders. As I told Foreign Minister Kamilov on Monday, the United States plans to provide about $3 million in additional assistance for border security, including counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics equipment, and training and communications systems. After what I've seen at the Customs College here today, I am confident that this additional support will be put to good use.
As professional, highly trained officers, you will play a pivotal role in protecting your country's security, sovereignty, and independence and you will help to make the world a safer and more lawful place. These are obviously very serious responsibilities, but I know you're up to the task, and I'm very glad that the United States is helping to support your studies.
Thank you very much.
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