Thank you very much, Amy, for that introduction and thanks to all of you for joining me in marking the Second Anniversary of the Proliferation Security Initiative. My special appreciations to Ambassadors Chee Chan and Federspiel and Kato for taking part in today's event. Singapore and Denmark and Japan have been at the forefront of this worldwide effort to stop the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction. And the United States is honored to have you here.
My appreciation also to Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte for coming here today for Members of Congress who are here, including Congressman Kirk, thank you very much for being here, for Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gordon England. Thank you to all of my colleagues from around the Administration and to members of the Diplomatic Corps here in the United States.
The trade in Weapons of Mass Destruction and related materials poses a deadly threat to our international community. As part of a broad strategy to strengthen our collective capacity to prevent and protect against this threat, President Bush launched the Global Proliferation Security Initiative two years ago in Krakow, Poland, with Poland and other close allies and invited other nations to join us.
In the two years since the President's call to action, the cooperative efforts that we, and our PSI partners, have undertaken have made it increasingly difficult and costly for proliferators to ply their nefarious trade. Now, over 60 countries support the PSI and participation in the PSI is growing in every region of the world.
I would like particularly to welcome the most recent additions to the PSI partnership: Argentina, Iraq, and Georgia. Not only is PSI participation expanding, the level of cooperation among us is deepening across our respective diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, and military communities, and with the private sector.
Under PSI, customs and law enforcement officials are applying laws already on the books in innovative ways, and cooperating as never before to disrupt proliferation networks and to hold accountable the front companies that support them. 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 in accordance with United Nations Security Resolution 1540.
In the course of the next 24 hours, authorities from the Czech Republic, Poland, and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe will stop a shipment of chemical weapons -- precursors born -- bound for the Middle East. Now, fortunately, this particular interdiction is only a drill -- part of the PSI exercise Bohemian Guard. This will be the fifteenth PSI exercise in the last two years. And more exercises are planned in months ahead.
In all of these ways and more, PSI is building our common capacity to act with speed and effectiveness to stop WMD trafficking on the land, at sea, and in the air. The results have been impressive. PSI provided the framework for action in the 2003 interdiction of the ship BBC China. That interdiction played a major role in the unraveling of the A.Q. Kahn network and figured in Libya's wise decision to eliminate its WMD and longer range missile programs.
Since then, PSI cooperation has continued to yield results. In the last nine months alone, the United States and ten of our PSI partners have quietly cooperated on 11 successful efforts. For example, PSI cooperation stopped the transshipment of material and equipment bound for ballistic missile programs in countries of concern, including Iran. PSI partners, working at times with others, have prevented Iran from procuring goods to support its missile and WMD programs, including its nuclear program. And bilateral PSI cooperation prevented the ballistic missile program in another region from receiving equipment used to produce propellant.
The dangerous trade in weapons of mass destruction can only be stopped through coordinated and continuous efforts by the international community. The greater the number of countries actively involved in the Proliferation Security Initiative, the safer people everywhere will be. The acquisition of a nuclear, chemical, or biological device by terrorists would mean only one thing: mass murder and devastation on a scale far worse than that of September 11, Beslan, Madrid, Bali, and other attacks of recent memory combined.
Every day, nations participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative are working to ensure that such a catastrophe never occurs within our international community. I ask my distinguished colleagues here today from the Diplomatic Corps, whose countries are not yet participants in the PSI, to convey the importance of this crucial, worldwide effort to the governments and to urge them to join in the effort.
Thank you very much. And now we will have several others to attest to the PSI experience.