Good morning. I am Bonnie Jenkins, the United States’ Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security at the Department of State. On behalf of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, I am honored to be here with you in this beautiful setting for such an important meeting.

Mr. Houssaini, thank you for your opening remarks, and thank you and the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting this ground-breaking Proliferation Security Initiative African Political Meeting and Outreach Event.

I join my Moroccan colleagues in welcoming the delegates to the meeting, including the several Foreign Ministers, Deputy Foreign Ministers, military leaders, government officials, and technical experts who are gathered here this week.

Last year, we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the PSI at a high-level political meeting hosted by the Republic of Korea. In the joint statement issued at the meeting’s conclusion, PSI partner countries committed to continuing outreach activities to expand the number of endorsing States.

Accordingly, Morocco committed to host this PSI political meeting and outreach event so that African countries could learn more about the PSI and its role in countering global and regional WMD threats. I am so glad to see so many African countries have taken advantage of the opportunity and hope that the governments here that have not already done so will endorse the PSI as soon as possible.

The Proliferation Security Initiative is an enduring global effort that aims to stop trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems,

and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern. PSI is a key foundational part of the global WMD nonproliferation regime and has maintained strong support in the international community. Since its inception in 2003, it has remained a Presidential priority in each of the U.S. Administrations, a testament to the enduring importance of the PSI.

When joining the PSI, PSI partner countries commit to the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles which are aimed at establishing a coordinated and effective basis to impede and stop WMD, their delivery systems, and related items. These commitments include:

  • Interdicting transfers to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern to the extent of their capabilities and legal authorities;
  • Developing procedures to facilitate exchange of information with other countries;
  • Strengthening national legal authorities to facilitate interdiction; and,
  • Taking specific actions in support of interdiction efforts.

I hope you all join me in seeing the PSI as a flexible, voluntary initiative that enhances individual and collective partner nations’ capabilities to take appropriate and timely actions to meet the fast-moving situations involving proliferation threats. And that a PSI endorsement is a tangible signal of a commitment to countering the spread of WMD and a strong message to would-be proliferators that seek to exploit territories, flag vessels, or aircraft.

Moreover, endorsing the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles is fully consistent with our international obligations articulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and elsewhere, further showcasing a global and collective approach to strengthening the international nonproliferation regime.

Today, the world faces a growing array of threats. Whether these threats are long-standing trends that have worsened over time, or coming along with new and emerging challenges, together we are witnessing a fast-changing security environment. This includes the challenges international efforts face in limiting the proliferation and use of WMD. We all know that these are not a single country’s problem, or only a regional issue. The impact of these threats affects not only each and every one of us – it also impacts the many generations that will come after us. Stopping the trafficking of WMD, its delivery systems, and related materials is paramount to the peace and prosperity of the world. The United States is committed to this cause and will continue to seek to strengthen and expand the PSI, ensuring that it remains an effective tool to stop WMD proliferation and the threats that we face.

We know we cannot do this alone, and that this is a global and collective effort. That is why I am so grateful to be here with you all. This meeting gives us an opportunity to explore these threats, both globally and those that affect the region specifically.

Over the course of the next few days, we will be pleased to hear from experts from Africa and from the international community who will highlight some of these threats and the benefits of PSI endorsement in combating them. We will discuss the changing international security environment and new challenges to counterproliferation norms and activities. The panel presentations and discussions will provide an opportunity to interact, ask questions, and make comments. Tabletop exercise guided scenario discussions will delve into proliferation threats on the sea, land, and air. A physical demonstration of important detection and interdiction capabilities will showcase some of the capacity-building benefits of PSI endorsement.

Thank you again for making the trip here to Marrakech. Your country’s attendance at this meeting and endorsement of the PSI are important expressions of political will in support of stopping the proliferation of WMD, delivery systems, and related materials. Upholding our common commitment to counterproliferation and ensuring that WMD interdiction remains the global norm has never been more important. Together, we can work to make the world a safer place.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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