Press Statement
Robert Wood
Acting Department Spokesman, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 16, 2009

The Department of State welcomes the March 13 agreement in London by representatives of nine countries (Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) on a program of action in response to concerns over continued smuggling of weapons into Gaza. This initiative will strengthen the international community’s ability to support a durable cease-fire. The Program of Action provides a comprehensive platform for enhanced cooperation and coordination in the areas of information and intelligence sharing; diplomatic engagement; and military and law enforcement activities.

The initiative should be seen in the context of relevant UN Security Council resolutions as well as counterterrorism and non-proliferation regimes. Countries will meet on a regular basis to review common efforts.

Working with our partners, the United States is committed to move forward quickly with the new mechanism to seek to block arms shipments to Gaza, which constitute a threat to regional peace and security and put innocent lives of Israelis and Palestinians at risk.

PRN: 225