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Proliferation Security Initiative Marks Second Anniversary

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2005 – Two years after its launch, the Proliferation Security Initiative is bringing the international community together to help stem trafficking in weapons of mass destruction and the materials used to make them, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said here today.

Speaking to the diplomatic corps on the second anniversary of the initiative, Rice said it's making it "increasingly difficult for proliferators to ply their nefarious trade."

President Bush proposed the PSI in Krakow, Poland, in 2003, and invited other nations to join the United States.

"Now over 60 countries support the PSI, and participation in the PSI is growing in every region of the world," Rice said. Argentina, Iraq and Georgia are the partnership's newest members.

Rice described the devastation that would result if terrorists acquired a nuclear, chemical or biological device. It "would mean only one thing: mass murder and devastation on a scale far worse than that of Sept. 11; Beslan, Madrid; Bali; and other attacks of recent memory combined," she said.

In addition to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Rice was referring to three other terrorist incidents: the Chechen hostage-seizure incident in Russia last year that left 330 people dead, last year's Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people, and the 2002 terrorist bombing in Bali, Indonesia, that left more than 200 dead.

Participants in the PSI are working together every day "to ensure that such a catastrophe never occurs within our international community," the secretary said.

As the partnership expands, participants are cooperating more closely on a variety of fronts to disrupt proliferation networks and hold the front companies that support them accountable, Rice said.

"We are cutting off the finances of those who facilitate the WMD trade, and we are working to strengthen national and international laws against WMD trafficking," she said.

During the last months alone, Rice said the United States and 10 of its PSI partnerships have cooperated in 11 successful efforts. One involved stopping a shipment of materials and equipment bound for ballistic missile programs in Iran and other countries. Others involved preventing Iran from procuring goods to support its missile and WMD programs, including its nuclear program.

PSI cooperation also kept another undisclosed country from getting equipment used to produce propellant for its ballistic missile program, the secretary said.

"The dangerous trade in weapons of mass destruction can only be stopped through coordinated and continuous efforts by the international community," Rice said. "The greater the number of countries actively involved in the Proliferation Security Initiative, the safer people everywhere will be."

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