Cablegate: Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative: Initial


DE RUEHYE #1420/01 3470248
P 130248Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1.(U) SUMMARY. In a December 10 session in Yerevan, the U.S. Nuclear Smuggling Outreach delegation laid out its preliminary assessment of Armenia,s abilities to combat nuclear smuggling and passed over its talking points as a non-paper. The Armenian delegation provided an initial response that generally agreed with U.S. views, contributing considerable detail on their government's ongoing efforts and needs. The participants agreed to provide a more considered, written response to the U.S. non-paper, with the goal of doing so by the end of January. The sides agreed that, once the response has been provided, they will schedule a follow-up meeting, targeted for March 2008, at which time they will seek to reach agreement on a joint action plan highlighting the priority steps needed to improve Armenia,s anti-nuclear smuggling capabilities and on a list of priority assistance projects to address certain needs. END SUMMARY.


The U.S. Embassy hosted the U.S. Nuclear Smuggling Outreach delegation for a December 10 meeting in Yerevan with a broad-based Armenian delegation to conduct initial discussions on nuclear smuggling. CDA opened the session and also hosted lunch for the delegations in the Embassy atrium. The Armenian delegation included 19 representatives from 11 different agencies. Representatives from the European Commission (EC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also participated in these discussions. Delegation rosters are in paragraph

6. The U.S. delegation presented its talking points laying out the preliminary U.S. assessment of Armenia's capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to efforts to smuggle nuclear and radioactive materials. The text of the talking points is in para


The Armenian side generally agreed with the U.S. assessment and provided additional detail about ongoing efforts and additional needs: --Armenia,s nuclear regulatory agency believes there is not a significant number of radioactive sources unaccounted for in Armenia, but acknowledged that it was not certain of this. Other Armenian agencies indicated they believed there may be a significant problem with unidentified radioactive sources. The Armenian side agreed to review this point and provide additional detail in the written response. --The Armenia delegation passed to the U.S. delegation a copy of a recent GOAM decree outlining roles and responsibilities for GOAM agencies in responding to discoveries of orphaned sources. --The Armenian delegation confirmed that all facilities with high-activity radioactive sources that have been identified have either been upgraded with U.S. assistance or are currently being upgraded. --Armenian representatives indicated a desire for closer cooperation with their Georgian counterparts responsible for border security and nuclear smuggling investigations. --The delegation agreed on the need to clarify procedures for responding to radiation alarms at borders and indicated that the relevant procedures are in the process of revision. --The delegation agreed on the importance of prosecuting all nuclear smuggling cases, including scams involving attempted sales and attempted purchases of nuclear or radioactive material. Representatives also indicated that the GOAM had sufficient legal authority to prosecute attempted purchases, and any case involving misuse of nuclear or radioactive material, but it needed a revision of its laws to prosecute a seller who claimed to have nuclear material, but only had an empty container. The Armenian side also agreed to provide additional detail on nuclear smuggling convictions in its written response. --The EC representative concurred with the U.S. view that physical security at the Armenia Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) is sufficient, but noted that the EC is planning assistance to Armenia to improve accountancy at this facility. The IAEA is working to upgrade physical security and accountancy at ANPP. --The IAEA representative indicated that his organization is finalizing its Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plan (INSSP) with Armenia. The IAEA representative noted that INSSP is also organized by prevention, detection, and response capabilities, and identified needs similar to those specified in the NSOI assessment. --Both the IAEA and EC representatives welcomed the opportunity to participate in these anti-smuggling discussions and indicated the importance of all donors coordinating their efforts in Armenia.


The U.S. delegation passed an Armenian language version of its talking points as a non-paper. The Armenian delegation agreed to prepare a written response, with the aim of providing it to the U.S. by the end of January. The delegations agreed to schedule a follow-up meeting in Yerevan as soon as the U.S. side had completed its review of the Armenian response, probably in the March timeframe. At this follow-up meeting, the delegations will seek to reach agreement on (1) a joint action plan highlighting the priority steps needed to improve Armenia,s anti-nuclear smuggling capabilities and (2) a list of priority assistance projects to address steps that Armenia cannot implement without outside assistance.



-- We,d like to thank you for joining us in this dialogue on combating nuclear smuggling.

-- Let me begin by reviewing what we have in mind for these discussions.

-- As we previously indicated, we would like to conduct a comprehensive exchange of views on Armenia,s anti-nuclear smuggling capabilities and possible needs for additional international assistance.

-- We want to discuss Armenia,s anti-nuclear smuggling abilities across the board, from preventing smuggling to detecting it if it occurs to effectively responding to detected smuggling incidents. In particular, we want to work with you to identify areas where Armenia,s capabilities might benefit from additional attention.

-- We want this discussion to be a genuine exchange of views; we want to understand your perspective of the situation as well as provide you our assessment based on our own experience in combating nuclear smuggling and our understanding of your strengths and needs.

-- As a result of these initial discussions, we would like to reach a common understanding of Armenia,s capabilities and needs. For that purpose, we understand that your responses today will necessarily be preliminary, as you will be hearing our views for the first time.

-- Thus, we will leave our basic points with you at the end of today,s meeting; we ask you to study them carefully and provide us as soon as possible a considered written response. Our initial assessment, refined by your oral and written responses, should provide the basis for a common understanding.

-- Once that common understanding is achieved, we will come back to Yerevan for a follow-up meeting, in which we will want to develop with you, based on that understanding, a joint action plan to address priority needs as well as a list of priority assistance projects to help you in that effort.

-- Subsequently, we will use the list of priority assistance projects to explore with potential donors, both U.S. programs and international sources, how they might contribute to improving Armenian capabilities.

-- It is important to highlight that these discussions are not meant to signify the promise of additional assistance from potential donors. However, our earlier engagement with other countries in this effort has produced additional assistance for them.

-- This assistance has been accompanied by commitments from those engaged countries to do what they can on their own to improve their capabilities. We tell potential donors that we are only asking them to help countries that are doing everything possible to help themselves.

-- Our ultimate goal is to determine through mutual cooperation how to most efficiently enhance Armenia,s ability to combat the nuclear smuggling threat.

-- We want to emphasize that our intention in this effort is not to criticize; rather it is to improve the efficiency of our cooperation in striving as partners to minimize the risk that nuclear or radioactive materials will fall into the wrong hands. Assessment of Armenia,s Capabilities and Continuing Needs

-- As I indicated, we want to review your capabilities across the board. In this regard, we have gathered some preliminary information from U.S. government representatives who have been working with you, and we have developed some tentative assessments of your strengths and needs in the areas of preventing, detecting, and responding to nuclear smuggling.

-- I expect there will be a number of areas where you will be able to improve our understanding or fill in gaps in our information. However, in order to kick off our review, I would be happy to begin the discussion, if you would like. Prevention of Nuclear Smuggling

-- Now let's turn to the first dimension of combating smuggling, preventing its occurrence. In this area, we understand Armenia,s strengths to be as follows:

- Security at the Metsamor nuclear power plant appears to be sufficient to prevent unauthorized access to the nuclear material and nuclear waste stored there.

- Armenia has worked with the U.S. Department of Energy,s Global Threat Reduction Initiative to improve physical security at several sites where high activity radioactive sources are stored or in use.

- Armenia has developed a registry of radioactive sources and is actively working with U.S. and international partners to improve its nuclear regulatory system.

- Armenia possesses export control laws that provide a solid legal basis to prevent diversion of nuclear and radioactive materials.

-- We believe Armenia,s capabilities in the area of preventing nuclear trafficking could be best enhanced by focusing on the following elements:

- We encourage Armenia to continue its valuable cooperation with both its U.S. and international partners focused on providing security upgrades to sites that store or utilize radioactive sources.

- We encourage Armenia to develop a prioritized list of sites that may still hold orphaned radioactive sources, and to work with U.S. and international partners to search for and secure these materials. Recovering any such sources would reduce the health hazard to local populations and the likelihood these sources will be involved in illicit trafficking.

- We appreciate President Kocharian,s public commitment to address the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Agency,s shortage of manpower and insufficient salary levels, and encourage the government of Armenia to address these issues as quickly as possible. (Hardwick) Detection of Nuclear Smuggling

-- Now let's turn to the area of detecting illicit trafficking. Here, we understand Armenia,s strengths to be as follows:

- Armenia is making important improvements to its border security capabilities, in part with training and equipment provided by various U.S. assistance programs.

- We understand that Armenian border guards and customs officials work together with their colleagues in Georgia, and we encourage you to continue to build these collaborative partner relationships with Georgia.

- Armenia possesses radiation portal monitors at five of its ports of entry (POEs), with four of these being installed by the Department of Energy,s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program with assistance from the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Assistance Program.

- The SLD Program is also working to install radiation portal monitors at the Zvartnots Airport in 2008 and working with Customs to develop an operational response plan. This response plan is extremely important to ensure the radiation detection equipment is used effectively.

-- We believe that the primary ways in which Armenia,s capabilities to detect nuclear trafficking could be enhanced include the following:

- Armenia should work with its U.S. and other international partners to provide radiation detection equipment at remaining POEs.

- We encourage Armenia to work with the U.S. and other international partners to identify and prioritize other equipment needs for improving border security.

- To maximize the effectiveness of radiation detection equipment, customs officials and border guards using it must be adequately trained on proper use and maintenance of the equipment. We would encourage Customs and Border Guards to commit adequate staff time and resources for training and to work with U.S. and international partners to identify specific training needs, including re-training, if needed.

- We encourage the relevant agencies in Armenia to incorporate training on the detection of and response to WMD incidents into their individual training academies, curricula.

- Armenian law enforcement officers may also benefit from additional equipment and training in order to strengthen their ability to detect and respond to a nuclear smuggling incident.

- Improving monitoring and control of green border areas between established points of entry would diminish the likelihood that smugglers could use these areas to avoid more thorough scrutiny at the official border crossings. Response to Detected Smuggling

-- Next, let's turn to Armenia,s strengths in responding to detected incidents of nuclear smuggling. We understand them to be the following:

- Armenia signed into law an operational plan for responding to the detection of nuclear or radioactive materials by a radiation portal monitor alarm and is working to implement plans for all relevant agencies.

- The Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Agency has two regional offices with basic capabilities to respond in case of a nuclear smuggling incident.

- Armenia has adequate storage capacity at its Radon to ensure that recovered nuclear and radioactive materials can be secured, so that they cannot be trafficked again.

- Armenia has a strong legal basis for prosecuting nuclear smuggling, as outlined in its official report on compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1540.

-- We believe Armenia,s ability to respond to detected incidents could be enhanced by the following:

- We encourage Armenia to review its operational plan for responding to the detection of nuclear or radioactive materials by a radiation portal monitor to clarify the respective roles of Customs and ANRA in responding to an alarm and performing secondary inspections.

- We encourage Armenia to develop broader operational plans for responding to all possible illicit trafficking incidents, not only those identified by portal monitors. This would include smuggling attempts discovered during law enforcement investigations and discoveries of orphaned radioactive sources. - Armenia should review its response procedures in view of the IAEA,s Nuclear Security Series No. 2 Nuclear Forensics Support document (the Model Action Plan), released in May 2006. This document serves as a collection of international best practices on responding to illicit trafficking incidents. The U.S., IAEA, and EU have training programs to help countries revise their response procedures in line with the IAEA Model Action Plan. We would encourage Armenia to work with international partners on incident response.

- Armenia should seek to enhance its nuclear forensics capability. Nuclear forensics supports prosecution of nuclear smugglers and can be used in the advanced identification and attribution work needed if confronted with a significant smuggling incident involving weapons-usable nuclear material. We believe that Armenian scientists possess significant technical knowledge relevant for nuclear forensics, but would benefit from establishing cooperative relationships with the U.S. and other international partners. One concrete step Armenia can take in this regard is to send representatives to meetings of the International Technical Working Group on Nuclear Forensics (ITWG). - We also encourage Armenia to review the current laws relevant to nuclear smuggling in order to ensure they adequately address nuclear and radioactive trafficking and scam cases, and to revise those laws as necessary. While Armenian law has adequate legal measures to prosecute illicit traffickers, it is not clear if Armenia has the legal authority to prosecute nuclear smuggling scams when there is no illicit material involved. Scams typically involve sellers claiming that radioactive sources, empty containers, or other non-nuclear materials are weapons-usable nuclear materials in order to increase the price.

- As a deterrent to future potential traffickers, we encourage Armenia to prosecute all illicit nuclear and radioactive trafficking and scam cases to the full extent of the law, and to publicize such convictions.

- Lastly, comprehensive reporting of all cases to the IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database Program would improve understanding of illicit trafficking trends in Armenia and help the U.S. and other international partners better target assistance. Corruption

-- Finally, there is one aspect that applies across the board to the effort to combat nuclear smuggling, and that is corruption.

- We perceive that corruption remains a significant hindrance to Armenia,s anti-trafficking efforts, as it does throughout the world. Corruption undercuts both Armenia,s anti-trafficking resources and foreign assistance, including training and equipment.

- We believe that further efforts to address the problem of corruption hold the potential to significantly enhance Armenia,s success in combating nuclear and radiological smuggling. END TEXT OF TALKING POINTS.


1.Michael Stafford ) State Department

2.Brent Eastman ) State Department

3.Natalie Hardwick ) State Department

4.Natasha Trueblood ) State Department

5.Christian Wright ) State Department

6.Brent Bredehoft ) Department of Homeland Security

7.Anne Kohnen ) Department of Energy

8.Scott Roecker ) Department of Energy Armenian Delegation

1. Varduhi Asaturian, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

2. Liudmila Shahinyan, Export Control Commission

3. Vahe Demirchyan, Ministry of Justice

4. Sona Avanesyan, Ministry of Justice

5. Aida Avetisyan, Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority

6. Alexander Stepanyan, Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority

7. Gevorg Mkrtchian, Customs State Committee

8. Elmen Tsarukyan, Customs State Committee

9. Arman Avagyan, Armenian Rescue Service

10. Levon Avagyan, Ministry of Defense

11. Susanna Grigoryan, Ministry of Defense

12. Hakob Babayan, General Prosecutors Office

13. Aram Amirzadyan, General Prosecutors Office

14. Tigran Aghajanian, National Security Service

15. Suren Baghdasaryan, National Security Service

16. Manuk Amiryan, Border Guards 17. Tovmas Darbinyan Border Guards 18. Vovik Atoian, Armenian Nuclear Power Plant 19. Ashot Karapetyan, Armenian Nuclear Power Plant European Commission

1. Paolo Peerani, Joint Research Centre, Ipra

2. Andre von Zweidorf, Joint Research Centre, Ipra International Atomic Energy Agency Scott Purvis, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security U.S. Embassy Dan Hastings, Pol/Econ Officer Nigel De Coster, Pol/Econ Officer Paul Shott, EXBS Advisor William Douglass, Transnational Crime Affairs Officer Avetik Avetyan, ARSO PENNINGTON PENNINGTON

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