Good morning colleagues and distinguished guests. On behalf of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of State, I extend my sincere gratitude to Germany for hosting us this week and for your leadership during such a critical period. And thank you Suzanne for your summary of the GP’s accomplishments over the last two decades. We are grateful to join our partners in person in Berlin to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the GP and recommit ourselves to the original goals, established in a similarly historic period, when we collectively came together to reduce the risks posed by weapons of mass destruction. The achievements you outlined prove that we are stronger when we work together towards common goals. I wish that after two decades the world would no longer have a need for the Global Partnership. But unfortunately, our work is not yet complete.
Seven months ago, Russia’s President Putin launched a premeditated and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine that continues to result in tragic consequences – thousands of civilians killed or wounded, millions of citizens forced to flee, cities pounded to rubble, food shortages, and other atrocities brought on by this unjust war. The United States, like so many other countries around the world, stands with Ukraine as they defend their territorial integrity, freedom, and independence with unparalleled ferocity and courage. Ukraine will not be conquered or divided. Putin has failed in that goal.
We use this opportunity to encourage all GP members to continue to provide assistance to our Ukrainian partners as they heroically battle for their country and survival. The United States is providing billions of dollars of support to Ukraine through security, economic, and governance assistance, and we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance for those in need. As it relates specifically to our shared GP goals, the United States has contributed to critical efforts across the CBRN spectrum to support Ukraine and the region to mitigate the damage done by Russia. These efforts include border security, sanctions and export control implementation, provision of CBRN personal protective equipment and countermeasures, helping to secure CBRN facilities, CBRN consequence management, and engagement with relevant industry and academia.
We are particularly concerned about the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and join the UN and many other nations in urging Russia to end its military activity at and near ZNPP and return control of the plant to Ukraine. Russia’s continued military presence in the area places the plant – and the entire region – in serious danger. We applaud the courage and selflessness of Ukraine’s personnel at ZNPP for their commitment to nuclear safety and security under the most harrowing and dangerous conditions. We are grateful for the extraordinary efforts of the IAEA to establish and maintain a continuing presence at the ZNPP. And we affirm the importance of the Seven Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Security as outlined by IAEA Director General Grossi.
We also urge all GP members to condemn and call out Russia’s deplorable disinformation campaigns, to include the blatant lies that falsely allege the use of CBRN weapons by the Ukrainians and biological weapons activities by the United States and other GP members. These claims are patently false and seek to undermine international cooperation and assistance under the BWC’s Article X provision. We are grateful to those GP members who spoke up during the recent BWC Article V formal meeting to support the United States, Ukraine, and our peaceful partnership.
It goes without saying that the United States views biological safety and security as a major priority and is grateful to Germany for its leadership on this topic. We are very proud of this year’s deliverables and of the work of the Africa Signature Initiative. We similarly support the role the GP plays in strengthening and reinforcing the BWC, particularly through the BWC Implementation Support Unit’s project under the Signature Initiative. Finally, we call upon members to endorse measures at the BWC’s Ninth Review Conference to enhance compliance, increase transparency, promote confidence, and strengthen the operationalization of the BWC, and to support an experts’ working group to study these issues and identify concrete steps to strengthen implementation.
Responding to Russia’s unprovoked war and increasing biosafety and biosecurity capabilities worldwide are priorities for the United States, but they are not the only issues confronting us, or the GP. We must also advance security priories related to chemical and missile threats, especially those emanating from North Korea, the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, as well as export controls and other measures to address the rapid evolution of sensitive dual-use technologies. These are but some of the challenges confronting this group, but none of us can do it alone. We have a strong collective record to build upon and the United States is strongly, unequivocally, and passionately committed to doing our part. Thank you.