Opening speech at the Closing Ceremony of the second stage of the K9 Explosives Detection Course

September 27, 2016


Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues from the governments of Kazakhstan, Austria, and from the OSCE.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the U.S. Embassy today for the official closing ceremony of the K9 Explosives Detection Training Course.

In our day-to-day activities, we do not always notice the valuable work conducted by K9 specialists, for instance checking stadiums before soccer matches, concert halls, and other large public events like the upcoming EXPO 2017.  The work implemented by the K9 specialists and their four-legged co-workers prevent serious crimes related to narcotics and weapon smuggling on the border and inside the country, and terrorist acts.  The U.S. Embassy and its partners began this K9 project in 2008.  Since then, we have supported practical narcotics and explosives detection training courses, as well as counter-terrorism training for K9 Teams at training centers in Austria and in Kazakhstan.  Over the years, K9 instructors and security specialists from multiple agencies in Kazakhstan have partnered to implement the project.

This year our project supported the participation of six K9 specialists in an explosives detection course.  Thanks to our government counterparts, the practical exercises took place at Astana International Airport, the railway station, the EXPO site as well as other locations around the city.  This training has increased the capabilities of the Kazakhstani law enforcement agencies to deter, detect and mitigate potential terrorist threats.

Today, I would like to thank our partners from the OSCE Program Office in Astana–namely Ambassador György Szabó, and project implementers Colin McCollough and Mikhail Assafov for their financial and organizational support in implementation of the project.  (hold for applause)

I also want to thank Ambassador Gerhard Sailler and the Austrian Ministry of Internal Affairs for their expert support of the project.  (hold for applause)

We recognize Lieutenant-General Demeuov and the Ministry of Internal Affairs as well as the management of the State Protection Service for practical support of the exercises, and their professional guidance on implementation of the project on the territory of Kazakhstan.  (hold for applause)

Today, we would like to especially mark the service of two representatives of the agencies with certificates of appreciation – Nikolay Schweiz, Head of the K9 Section of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Serik Ilyassov, K9 Specialist of the State Protection Service whose personal attention to the project ensured an excellent training experience in Astana city.  (hold for applause)

We would also like to thank our partners from the Austrian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mr. Josef Schuetzenhofer, and his colleagues in Austria for many years of outstanding work on the project and Daniyar Yussupov for his excellent interpretation skills.  (hold for applause)

I would to thank the K9 specialists that participated in the training course.  We all know how much effort and patience it takes to achieve these sorts of results, and we respect the dangerous work they perform for our security.  I should also credit the stars of today’s event: Arpa, Carla, Bones, Zeus, and Dodi.  You will witness during today’s demonstration how smart they are and how ideally they work together with their dog handlers.

As we mark 25 years of friendship between the people of Kazakhstan and the United States this year, the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) office is also celebrating 15 years of partnership with the government of Kazakhstan to combat human and narcotics trafficking, transnational organized crime, money laundering and terror financing as well as supporting prevention efforts to deter drug dependence.

Many contributed greatly to the implementation of this project, demonstrating how interagency and intergovernmental cooperation, dedication, and vision all work together to build security and peace in our countries.  Thank you for your service.  We wish you much success in your future work.