Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
June 5, 2009

Released by U.S. Embassy Warsaw, Poland

On May 31, the United States, Poland, and other partner nations mark the sixth anniversary of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The PSI, launched by President Bush in Krakow, Poland, in May 2003, seeks to prevent the transfer of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials by air, ground or sea to and from states and nonstate actors of proliferation concern. The Initiative recognizes the need for more robust tools to stop the proliferation of WMD around the world, and specifically focuses on interdiction as its contribution to the broader international nonproliferation framework.

The PSI is a success story in the fight against illicit trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems. Beginning six years ago with eleven states that came together to establish the principles underlying the PSI, there are now more than 90 nations worldwide that have endorsed these principles and promote results in stopping transfers of items and materials of WMD proliferation concern.

Poland has been a vital partner in the PSI’s development since its inception. As an Operational Experts Group participant, it has played a leading role in organizing PSI political meetings, regional exercises and conducting intensive outreach activities. It has also strengthened its national response against WMD proliferation by creating an interministerial team devoted to those issues. As a confirmation of its serious involvement in the PSI activity, Poland will host the Initiative’s European Regional Operational Experts Group meeting in Sopot on June 22-24.

The United States is pleased to have played an active role in the success of the PSI, by leveraging related counterproliferation efforts across the U.S. government, by contributing military, customs, law enforcement, and other security experts and assets to interdiction exercises, by hosting PSI meetings, workshops, and exercises with other PSI-endorsing states, as well as by working with specific partner states to improve their capacity for combating the proliferation of WMD. President Obama strongly supports the PSI. In Prague on April 5, the President called on the international community to build on efforts to break up black markets, detect and intercept WMD materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade. The PSI is an important tool in these efforts.
Both Poland and the United States seeks to strengthen and expand the PSI, ensuring that it remains an effective tool to stop WMD proliferation. Cooperation on PSI constitutes one of the core elements of Polish-US strategic relations.