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Embassy News 2006

U.S. Embassy Grants Equipment to the Armenian State Customs Committee

February 3, 2006

In December 2005, the U.S. government Export Control and Related Border Security Program (EXBS) granted the Armenian State Customs Committee a new set of modern equipment that includes Portal radiation detectors with related equipment for the identification and analysis of radiation sources and inspection tool kits. This equipment, which was installed at the Bagratashen and Airum ports of entry, will help interdict the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as dual-use items, and will increase the efficiency of border operations.

During the ceremony to mark the installation of the new equipment at Bagratashen, DCM Anthony Godfrey said that "In his annual address on the 'State of the Union' delivered in Washington on January 31, President Bush again reiterated the commitment of the United States to engage with our partners overseas to defeat terrorism. Today's event is a demonstration of the vital nature of our partnership with Armenia to ensure that terrorists do not have access to the most dangerous weapons, those which could bring indiscriminate mass destruction on peace-loving people."

EXBS, which is administered by the Department of State International Security and Non-Proliferation agency, has been functioning in Armenia since 2000. Since that time, it has provided 3.5 million dollars worth of assistance to Armenian government agencies, including the National Security Service and the State Customs Committee. Over the last several years, EXBS has equipped the Border Guards and Customs Services of Armenia with various types of inspection and detection equipment including a radio-communication system, computer equipment, border sensors, metal detectors, vehicles, and 100-ton cargo truck scales. This equipment has been installed at the Araratian customs house, as well as the Bagratashen, Gogavan, Airum-Giliza and Meghri crossing points. The scales have electronic memory, which is an important prerequisite in combating illegal trafficking.

During the past year, EXBS provided the Customs Committee with more than 10 luggage and cargo-check X-ray units, the largest of which were installed in "Zvartnots" Airport Cargo Terminal and at the Meghri Port of Entry.

The provided modern equipment assists Armenian customs officers in inspecting high volumes of cargo and luggage more efficiently, and allows them to apply new methods. It also helps improve customs administration, thus reducing the chances of smuggling or violations of customs regulations occurring.