VIENNA, -- Terrorists and criminals will try to exploit any vulnerability in the global nuclear security system, warned the UN nuclear agency.

''Any country, in any part of the world, could find itself used as a transit point. And any country could become the target of an attack. That is why effective international cooperation is vital,'' said Yukiya Amano, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in his keynote address to the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions, on Monday.

''Much progress has been made in improving nuclear security throughout the world. But we can never relax our guard. Continued vigilance is essential as the threat evolves,' Amano stated, affirming that the IAEA will continue to play its part in helping to ensure that all countries are able to make the best use of available technology and to ensure state-of-the-art nuclear security.

''We will continue to develop guidance on enhancing computer security and to provide focused training on cyber threats, helping to boost countries' capacity to respond to attacks,'' he added.

Government ministers committed to further strengthening global nuclear security, including by combating illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material, according to a Ministerial Declaration adopted today at the IAEA's International Conference on Nuclear Security.

The conference, which runs through Friday at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna, has brought together some 2000 participants from more than 130 Member States and 17 international, regional and non-governmental organisations. They will review the status of international nuclear security and exchange views on strategies and priorities for improving it.

The ministers "remain concerned about threats to nuclear security and therefore committed to continuously maintaining and further strengthening nuclear security" and underlined "the importance of keeping pace with evolving challenges and threats". They also pledged "to continue taking active steps to combat illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material, to protect and secure all such material to ensure that it cannot be used by non-State actors in criminal or terrorist acts, and to continue efforts on our territories to prepare for recovering such material in case it has fallen out of regulatory control, taking into account relevant international instruments".

The conference's work and the ministerial declaration will contribute to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Plan for 2018 to 2021, Amano said in his address. The IAEA will strive "to ensure that the commitments made at this conference are translated into practical actions that will make the world safer for everyone," he said.

Source: Emirates News Agency