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NEWS | May 21, 2015

Proliferation Security Initiative Meeting in Ottawa 26-28 May

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) will hold its annual meeting of the Operational Experts Group (OEG) in Ottawa, Canada May 26-28.  PSI is a global cooperative effort to stop trafficking in weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The coming Ottawa meeting will discuss current proliferation trends and issues including maritime sanctions evasion, proliferation networks, tracing supply chains, and the latest on the spread of chemical and biological weapons.  Other topics include the finance aspects of proliferation and technology transfer.

The meeting will be attended by international delegations including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Japan, and more.

The U.S. will be sending an interagency delegation including representation from the Department of State as well as Defense, Treasury, Homeland Defense, Customs, FBI and others.

PSI promotes regional information sharing and cooperation as a means of enhancing security.  It aims at stopping the trafficking of WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of concern.  In addition to sharing information, PSI promotes the development of interdiction capabilities.

The Operational Experts Group leverages related counter proliferation efforts including customs, law enforcement, military and other security experts and assets to interdiction exercises. The group also hosts PSI meetings, workshops, and exercises and works with partner states to improve capacity to combat the proliferation of WMDs.  The Operational Experts Group is made up of 21 endorsing nations.

Proliferators rely on shipments of equipment and technology to function. The PSI fosters interdiction efforts on a flexible, voluntary basis, consistent with national authorities and international laws and frameworks.

• The PSI promotes cooperation by the states best-positioned to act based on their
    national capacities, using a wide array of military, diplomatic, and law enforcement tools.

• The PSI builds the capacity of states, including through exercises and workshops, and by
   sharing tools and resources to build interdiction capabilities.

• States also work to strengthen interdiction authorities on a national or international
   basis. For example, 11 states have signed bilateral PSI ship boarding agreements with the  
   United States that facilitate securing their consent to inspect vessels suspected of carrying
   WMD-related cargoes.

PSI is not a treaty organization, it is a concerted effort of voluntary participants.  Each nation decides how to engage on a case-by-case basis.  Adherent nations agree to the PSI statement of interdiction principles and implement them in accord with their own and international law.

States become part of the PSI by publicly endorsing the Statement of Interdiction Principles and thus pledging to take action to effectively interdict WMD-related shipments.

When a country endorses PSI, it endorses the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles, which commits participants to establish a more coordinated and effective basis through which to impede and stop WMD, their delivery systems and related items. The countries agree to:

• interdict transfers to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern to the
   extent of their capabilities and legal authorities;

• develop procedures to facilitate exchange of information with other countries;

• strengthen national legal authorities to facilitate interdiction; and

• take specific actions in support of interdiction.

Since its launching in 2003, PSI continues to prosper generating far-reaching global cooperation evidenced by the endorsement of 104 nations to date.  PSI is not led or chaired by any single country but provides action, coordination, and capacity development to stop proliferation.

As part of PSI efforts to build counter proliferation capacity, PSI-endorsing nations in the Asia-Pacific, and some non-endorsing nations, will participate in EXERCISE MARU 2015 in November.  This event is being hosted by New Zealand and has been planned in a cooperative effort by, Singapore, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States.

The United States is committed to PSI, its statement of interdiction principles, and the goals of improving interdiction policies and the global legal framework.  The United States encourages the development of endorsing states capacities to conduct interdictions and the continued promotion of counter proliferation as an international norm.