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Proliferation Security Initiative: Statement of Interdiction Principles
John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs
Remarks at Proliferation Security Initiative Meeting
Paris, France
September 4, 2003

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President George W. Bush announced the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on May 31 in Krakow, Poland. This initiative stems from the U.S. National Strategy to Combat WMD Proliferation, released last December.

Since then, we have been working with ten other countries -- Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the UK -- to develop a set of "principles" that identify practical steps necessary to interdict shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials flowing to and from states or non-state actors of proliferation concern at sea, in the air, or on land.

Today, the PSI "Statement of Interdiction Principles" was agreed by the current, eleven PSI countries during a political level meeting hosted by the Government of France. The "Statement of Interdiction Principles" is a reflection of the shared political commitment to strengthen efforts to combat the growing proliferation threat. The United States welcomes support for the PSI Principles of all states that share our concerns about proliferation and our resolve to take new and active measures to defeat this threat.

The Paris PSI meeting also continued work on the modalities for interdiction, in particular effective information sharing and operational capabilities for interdictions.

Participants at the Paris meeting agreed to the following general guidelines for information exchange: 

  • Countries commit to seek to release information to other PSI participants to facilitate timely sharing of information to identify, monitor, disrupt or interdict proliferation activities of concern.

  • Countries will release information to other PSI participants -- and receiving countries agree to accept information -- in accordance with existing national rules of release of operationally sensitive information or intelligence to third parties.

  • Countries agree not to release any information received from a PSI country for PSI purposes to a third party -- including other PSI countries -- without the specific consent of originating country.

  • Countries agree to afford protection to any information received from a PSI country for PSI purposes at substantially the same level it would receive in the originating country.

  • Countries agreed to provide feedback on PSI operation conducted as a result of information supplied by another PSI country to the originating country.

While interdiction actions are already a reality, efforts to enhance our collective operational capabilities for action are essential. In support of this goal, PSI participants have agreed on a series of ten sea, air, and ground interdiction training exercises that will take place beginning next week and carry into 2004. PSI interdiction training exercises may include both military and law enforcement assets.

The first interdiction training exercise, for maritime interdiction, is being organized by Australia and will take place September 13-14 in the Coral Sea. Called "Pacific Protector," it will involve both law enforcement and military assets. Four PSI partners, including the United States, are sending vessels to the exercise. All PSI countries will be involved in some capacity. The Australia-led "Pacific Protector" interdiction training exercise will be followed by additional interdiction training exercises, which are in various planning stages:

  • Spain-led maritime training exercise in the Mediterranean (October 13-17);

  • UK-led air interdiction Command Post Exercise (October 2003);

  • France-led maritime training exercise in the Mediterranean (November 24-28);

  • Italy-led air interdiction training exercise (December 3-4);

  • U.S.-led maritime interdiction exercise in the Arabian Sea (January 2004);

  • Poland-led ground interdiction exercise (early 2004)

  • Italy-led maritime interdiction exercise in the Mediterranean (Spring 2004)

  • France-led simulated air interdiction exercise (Spring 2004)

  • Germany-led exercise (Spring 2004)

PSI is a global initiative with global reach. While PSI participants agreed in Brisbane that North Korea and Iran are states of particular proliferation concern, PSI efforts are not aimed at any one country, but at halting worldwide trafficking in WMD, delivery systems, and related materials. Actions taken under the PSI will be fully consistent with national legal authorities and relevant international law and frameworks. Importantly, substantial national and international authorities for interdiction already exist. Under the PSI, the U.S. seeks to cooperate with other countries, such that our collective efforts will allow the maximum possible action to defeat proliferation.

The PSI is a concrete, operationally focused initiative. In announcing the PSI last May, President Bush made clear that the initiative will be broadened to include all states that have the capacity and willingness to take steps to help halt shipments of WMD, delivery systems, and related materials. Many countries around the world have indicated an interest in participating in PSI efforts. The United States welcomes this support and looks forward to explaining the PSI more fully and working with such countries to build a better and more robust interdiction initiative. The next PSI meeting will take place October 9-10 in London.