Proliferation Security Initiative 10th Anniversary High-Level Political Meeting
On May 28, the United States, Poland, and 70 other partner states of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and three international organizations marked the tenth anniversary of the PSI with a high-level political meeting in Warsaw. Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller led the U.S. delegation to the event.
At the meeting, PSI partners recognized the critical role the Initiative has played in countering the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). PSI states agreed to take specific, concrete steps to further the Initiative in the years ahead, which includes deterring proliferators through more regular and robust PSI exercises; promoting legally binding international treaties to criminalize international WMD-related trafficking by commercial ships and aircraft; sharing expertise and resources to build critical interdiction capabilities and practices; and expanding the influence of the PSI globally through outreach to new states and the public. Over 70 states affirmed four joint statements pledging specific actions in these areas.
The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is a global effort that aims to stop trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern. Launched on May 31, 2003, U.S. involvement in the PSI stems from the U.S. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction issued in December 2002. That strategy recognizes the need for more robust tools to stop proliferation of WMD around the world, and specifically identifies interdiction as an area where greater focus will be placed. President Obama strongly supports the PSI. In his April 2009 Prague speech, President Obama first called for the PSI to continue as an enduring international counterproliferation effort. He has subsequently reinforced this as the formal U.S. Government position in significant U.S. policy documents, including the White House’s National Security Strategy and the Pentagon’s last Quadrennial Defense Review.
"The PSI is an important tool in our efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept WMD materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade. It is an innovative and proactive approach to preventing proliferation that relies on voluntary actions by states that are consistent with their national legal authorities and relevant international law and frameworks. PSI participants use existing authorities — national and international — to put an end to WMD-related trafficking."
When a country endorses PSI, it endorses the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles, which commit participants to establish a more coordinated and effective basis through which to impede and stop WMD, their delivery systems, and related items. The countries commit to:
The more than 100 countries that have endorsed the PSI so far share a deep concern that WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials could fall into the hands of terrorists. All of these countries have endorsed the effort to make PSI a flexible, voluntary initiative geared toward enhancing individual and collective partner nations’ capabilities to take appropriate and timely actions to meet the fast-moving situations involving proliferation threats.
The United States seeks to strengthen and expand the PSI, ensuring that it remains an effective tool to stop WMD proliferation. We are playing an active role in the success of the PSI, by leveraging related counterproliferation efforts across the U.S. Government, by contributing military, customs, law enforcement, and other security experts and assets to interdiction exercises, by hosting PSI meetings, workshops, and exercises with other PSI-endorsing states, and by working with specific partner states to improve their capacity for combating the proliferation of WMD.