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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 959-06
September 26, 2006

Department of Defense Meet in London on Anti-WMD Trafficking

         Representatives from the Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation met with 19 other nations supporting the Proliferation Security Initiative in London yesterday and today. The two-day international workshop will focus on enhancing the operational capability of PSI participants along with maritime industry partners to halt the international trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials.

         “This workshop reflects the continued efforts of PSI governments and industry partners to work together against those engaged in WMD-related proliferation trafficking. The goal is to disrupt WMD-related trafficking networks that support this dangerous trade,” said David Cooper, director, nonproliferation policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who leads the U.S. delegation in London. “This workshop will identify how governments working with maritime industry, can intercept WMD-related shipments, while minimizing the disruption of legitimate cargo flows.”

         Topics to be discussed include port governance, the roles of freight forwarders and shipping line owners and operators, the disposition of cargo, implications of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA), the government decision-making process, and how industry can further participate with PSI supportive nations.

        This is the third PSI government-industry workshop. The first was the August 2004 Container Line Industry Workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark, followed by the September 2005 Air Cargo Industry Workshop in Los Angeles, California. The London workshop, hosted by the UK Ministry of Defence, includes representatives from the governments and industry of twenty countries – Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The workshop is also a key component of the Operational Experts Group process that develops PSI operational concepts and ensures that PSI governments develop a cooperative relationship with industry experts.

        The PSI was announced in May 2003 in Krakow, Poland, as an effort for nations to use a variety of robust tools within national and international law to defeat the proliferation of WMD around the world. In June, senior political officials from nearly 70 countries around the globe met in Warsaw to recognize the third anniversary of the initiative and pledge their support for its “Statement of Interdiction Principles.” Today, more than 75 countries support the PSI.