LONDON: Morocco co-hosted the three-day Mediterranean Trident Tabletop Exercise in the Italian capital Rome from Nov. 9 to 11, in partnership with Italy and the US.
The event was aimed at strengthening “regional cooperation related to the detection of radiological/nuclear materials at maritime ports, crime scenes, and the coordination of subsequent nuclear forensics investigations,” the US Embassy in Morocco said in a statement.
Also taking part in the exercise were the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and the EU.
“The exercise developed participant understanding of the applicability of international legal frameworks against acts of radiological/nuclear terrorism, including the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
“In addition, the exercise encouraged discussions on the limitations and strengths of different international cooperation mechanisms, promoting dialogue among experts from nearly 20 participating countries and relevant government agencies.
“These included individuals from border control, customs, regulatory authorities, law enforcement, prosecutors, and nuclear forensics experts, among others,” the statement added.
Fears about the use of nuclear and radiological weapons in the region have heightened in recent months following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, and with talks continuing over the future of Iran’s nuclear program.
The acquisition or development of similar weapons by terrorist organizations, meanwhile, is a longstanding threat to world peace.
“Deterring, detecting, and stopping radiological/nuclear terrorism is of the utmost importance to any nation, and exercises like MED Trident help to bring together experts from a variety of disciplines and nations to share experiences, information, build relationships, and encourage the implementation of national legal frameworks,” the US Embassy said.
“These exercises enable countries to improve their capabilities to deny and disrupt terrorist and other non-state actor acquisition of weapons of mass destruction materials, expertise, and equipment.”
The statement added that Washington viewed Italy and Morocco as “key partners in counterterrorism cooperation,” and that the duo had worked tirelessly with the US and Niger as part of the Africa Focus Group of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS — a collection of nations countering the activities of Daesh across the continent.