Signing of the Megaports Agreement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Remarks With Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Enrique Taiana
Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC
April 13, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am very pleased to be here with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and to join Foreign Minister Taiana to sign this Megaports Agreement on behalf of our two countries. This launches a cooperative effort between the United States and Argentina to prevent the smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive materials. This pact paves the way for our government to work with Argentine customs, to install radiation detection equipment, and associated infrastructure at the Port of Buenos Aires.

And this is a very fitting occasion for us to be signing this agreement. The Megaports Initiative embodies the spirit and the substance of this summit. It aims to strengthen the capacity of governments to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials transiting the global shipping system. The initiative currently extends to 30 ports around the world with work underway at additional ports in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

So the agreement we signed today builds on this progress as we work toward our goal of equipping 100 key ports with radiation, detection equipment, and providing port personnel with training and technical support. It also builds on our cooperation with Argentina on nuclear nonproliferation and counterterrorism. Argentina is on the forefront of the fight for nuclear security. And with this signing, it will make yet another contribution to our common efforts to enhance the safety of our peoples and indeed of all people. It is a symbol not only of our shared commitment to the issue of nuclear security, but also of our strong bilateral partnership.

So thank you and please thank your president and your government for this important event, and I’d like to invite you to say a few words.

FOREIGN MINISTER TAIANA: Okay. Secretary Clinton, Secretary Chu, it’s really a good moment to be here at that summit and have the opportunity to sign this cooperation agreement. We were working on that for a while. But now, it’s now and time arrive and it’s, I think, like a way to show a practical outcome of this summit. This is a very practical cooperation agreement. We were to receive equipment and will be operated by our Argentines there and to avoid the possibility of illegal traffic of nuclear materials and radioactive materials.

I think that it is also good recognition of the level of some of our ports, particularly Port of Buenos Aires, Dock Sud, and Campana, that are the two ports that are contemplated in this agreement. And it’s not only a way to fight illegal nuclear trafficking, but also it’s a way to improve our trade and the dynamism and work of our ports. So I’m very happy to sign it here and thank you, Hillary, for this opportunity.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Argentine Republic are signing the Megaport Initiative Agreement Concerning Cooperation to Prevent the Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear and Other Radioactive Materials.

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PRN: 2010/444