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Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Gulf Cooperation Council Workshop

Vann Van Diepen
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
Closing Remarks, U.S. Gulf Cooperation Council Workshop
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
March 14, 2012


It is clear we all share an appreciation of the threat that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems poses to our individual national andeconomic security, to that of the region, and beyond.

The workshop also has clearly established that proliferators are seeking to misuse the territories and economies of all our countries. Proliferators seek to acquire items from our countries directly, to portray us as false destinations in their diversion and procurement activities, to misuse transit and transshipment through our territories, and misuse our financial institutions.

As we all understand, proliferators are devious and opportunistic. They will increase their efforts to obtain technology from and through this region as trade controls are strengthened elsewhere, and within this region will seek to exploit gaps in individual countries' controls and enforcement.

This common threat provides both the reason and the context for increased cooperation between ministries within each of our governments, between government and industry, between countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and with the U.S. and other friends and trading partners. All these forms of cooperation are crucial and this workshop has contributed to it.

We have had in-depth discussions of the role of each of the key tools the international community relies on to combat proliferation, how they work, and how to implement them.

-- We recognized that global treaties (NPT/BWC/CWC) and UNSCRs (1540, Iran/North Korea) impose common obligations on all of us to fight proliferation and also provide a source of legal authority in doing so.

-- We discussed the four multilateral regimes whose control lists identify the items of greatest relevance to proliferation, and standards for how transactions involving these items should be reviewed and decided.

-- We developed a greater understanding of the GCC Customs Union, which yesterday’s table top exercise (TTX) showed was an important source of authority, including in implementing our commitments under the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles (SOIP).

-- The TTX also reinforced the importance of comprehensive strategic trade controls and of the robust enforcement of those controls, in preventing proliferators from obtaining technologies from and through our countries. And, as the example of Hong Kong clearly shows, such controls can be effectively implemented without undermining vibrant legitimate trade.

-- We had an in-depth examination of the need for catch-all controls in coping with proliferators’ use of non-listed items in their WMD and missile programs, and of best practices in preventing their misuse or transshipment—both subjects of great relevance to this region.

-- And we appreciated the role financial controls can play in developing information to support export controls, in making it harder for proliferators to misuse our financial systems, and in denying them the moneys that proliferation networks get into business for.

The challenge that lies ahead of us is to apply all of these tools in a coordinated and determined way against proliferation.

That can be facilitated by the capacity-building assistance available to you, including from the U.S. programs that were described yesterday, as well as the nonproliferation regimes, the 1540 Committee, and the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).

And just as important is the international cooperation and information sharing that this workshop has facilitated.

But what else can we do to together to fight proliferation? I’ll now turn the floor over to Saeed and Hassan to lead the discussion of other next steps in the wake of this very important workshop. The thoughts of our GCC colleagues on this are particularly important and welcome.

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