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U.S. Recaps Strategy to Stop Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Proliferation of nuclear, chemical, biological weapons a serious threat

Posted: May 11, 2005

The United States has identified the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by rogue states and terrorist organizations as one of the greatest threats to international security and is actively promoting a number of steps to prevent it.

The State Department outlined the U.S. strategy to prevent nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons proliferation in a fact sheet issued May 2, as the seventh Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference opened in New York.

Following is the text of the fact sheet:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Nonproliferation
United States Initiatives to Prevent Proliferation
Washington, D.C.
May 2, 2005

The United States leads the world in efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. To combat the spread of these weapons, the U.S. is undertaking many multilateral initiatives with its partners in the global war against terrorism, with its traditional allies, and in the United Nations. The United States believes that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by rogue states and terrorist organizations represents one of the greatest threats not only to U.S. security, but to the security of all. Preventing proliferation through proactive efforts is a primary focus of U.S. global strategy.

The September 11, 2001, attacks and subsequent anthrax attacks revealed the determination and resources of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida, and reinforced the importance of efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD. To combat the WMD threat more effectively, President Bush has put forth a number of initiatives to increase resources for nonproliferation assistance programs, to disrupt the trade in proliferation-related materials and technologies, and to improve the effectiveness of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTION 1540

As the illicit activities of the network run by former head of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program A.Q. Khan demonstrated, proliferators have become adept at circumventing export controls through falsification of end-use information, end-user documentation, or cargo manifests. Illicit suppliers and shippers often collude and use transport routes and transshipment points in countries that lack strong controls and enforcement mechanisms.

To respond to this concern, President Bush proposed, and the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted, Resolution 1540 in April 2004. The Resolution requires states to enact and enforce effective legal and regulatory measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, their delivery systems, and related materials. Resolution 1540 also requires that all states "shall take and enforce effective measures to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons and their means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials." The Resolution calls on states to submit a report outlining steps they have taken or intend to take in implementing the resolution. Resolution 1540 marks the first time that the Security Council mandated specific actions by U.N. members to address WMD proliferation.

Over 115 countries have submitted reports required by the Resolution. More work needs to be done, and the United States looks forward to working with all nations to achieve full implementation of the Resolution and stands ready to provide assistance where possible in helping states fulfill their obligations.

PROLIFERATION SECURITY INITIATIVE

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is a forward-looking and necessary response to the growing challenge posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials worldwide. Announced by President Bush in May of 2003, this initiative builds on existing treaties, agreements, and export control regimes within the international community to prevent proliferation of such items. The PSI has also led to the formation of bilateral ship boarding agreements designed to facilitate the interdiction of weapons of mass destruction and related materials. Indeed, the U.N. has recognized the vital role PSI is playing in furthering international nonproliferation objectives. The report of the U.N. Secretary General's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Changes finds that "Recent experience of the activities of the A.Q. Khan network has demonstrated the need for and the value of measures taken to interdict the illicit and clandestine trade in components for nuclear programs." The Secretary General also acknowledged the importance of PSI at the recent Madrid Summit on Terrorism, saying, "I applaud the efforts of the Proliferation Security Initiative to fill a gap in our defenses." PSI underscores the need for member states of the U.N. to act forcefully to prevent proliferation. PSI participants are deeply concerned about this threat and the danger that WMD could fall into the hands of terrorists, and are committed to working together to stop the flow of WMD-related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern.

Over 60 countries have expressed their support for PSI. The PSI Principles identify specific steps for effectively interdicting WMD shipments and preventing proliferation facilitators from engaging in this deadly trade at sea, on land, and in the air. Since September 2003, dozens of countries have participated in or observed at least one of the PSI interdiction exercises. Participation in the PSI is voluntary and activities undertaken in connection with the initiative are based on national and international authorities. PSI partners encourage all states to support the PSI publicly, and to take the steps outlined in the Principles, including steps in support of PSI operational activities. The rapid expansion of support for the PSI is an acknowledgment of the need for stronger measures to defeat proliferators through effective cooperation with other countries.

The United States believes that PSI is succeeding first and foremost because of the international consensus that WMD proliferation is a threat to global peace and security, and also because PSI partners recognize that proliferation threatens their own national security.

NONPROLIFERATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: BUILDING ON THE NUNN-LUGAR/COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION PROGRAMS

To address the WMD threat in the former Soviet Union, the United States has invested heavily in the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and other related, critically important cooperative efforts. Since enactment in late 1991, these programs have provided American technical expertise and over $9 billion for cooperative projects to safeguard and destroy WMD and related materials, technology, and infrastructure and to prevent the proliferation of WMD expertise. In FY2005, the U.S. government will commit an additional $1 billion and has requested a similar amount for FY2006. To date, the weapons systems deactivated or destroyed by the United States under these programs include:

-- 6,312 nuclear warheads;

-- 537 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs);

-- 459 ICBM silos;

-- 11 ICBM mobile missile launchers;

-- 128 bombers;

-- 708 nuclear air-to-surface missiles;

-- 408 submarine missile launchers;

-- 496 submarine launched missiles;

-- 27 nuclear submarines;

-- 194 nuclear test tunnels; and

-- Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program.

Last year Congress approved the Nunn-Lugar Expansion Act, which permits the President to use up to $50 million in Nunn-Lugar funds for activities outside the former Soviet Union. President Bush has signed the authorization for Nunn-Lugar work in Albania.

In addition to the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program under Nunn-Lugar, President Bush has expanded and accelerated the proliferation prevention programs of the Departments of Energy and State. Through these efforts, the U.S. has:

-- Upgraded the security of 260 tons of fissile material;

-- Enhanced the security at approximately 60 nuclear warhead storage sites;

-- Blended down to Low Enriched Uranium approximately 208 metric tons of Highly Enriched Uranium;

-- Improved the security of 35 percent of Russia's chemical weapons facilities, and the U.S. is funding construction of a facility that will destroy nerve agent munitions, which are most vulnerable to proliferation threats;

-- Conducted peaceful joint U.S.-Russian research at 49 former biological weapons facilities, and security improvements are underway at 4 biological weapons sites;

-- Through the International Science and Technology Center and the Science and Technology Center Ukraine, of which the United States is the leading sponsor, have engaged 58,000 former weapons scientists in peaceful work;

-- Through the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Program, funded 750 projects involving 14,000 former weapons scientists and created some 580 new peaceful high-tech jobs;

THE G-8 GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP AGAINST THE SPREAD OF WEAPONS AND MATERIALS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

The Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, proposed by President Bush, was launched by G-8 leaders at the June 2002 Kananaskis Summit. The goal of this Partnership is to prevent terrorists or states that support them from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction. To support Global Partnership projects, the G-8 leaders committed to raise up to $20 billion over 10 years. In response to the U.S. pledge to contribute half of the $20-billion target, the other G-7 countries and the European Union (EU) have pledged about $7 billion to date, and Russia pledged to contribute $2 billion. The United States is on track to meet this commitment, with contributions of about $1 billion annually since Kananaskis.

Thirteen additional countries have joined the Global Partnership as donors since Kananaskis. Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and Sweden joined in 2003; Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand joined in 2004. Together they have pledged more than $250 million to Global Partnership projects. The G-8 formally recognized Ukraine as a new recipient of Global Partnership cooperation in September 2004, and other states of the former Soviet Union are currently seeking such recognition.

SHUTTING DOWN THE A.Q. KHAN PROLIFERATION NETWORK

Over the course of several years, the U.S. and U.K. uncovered the extensive activities of the A.Q. Khan proliferation network, stretching over three continents. For example, Khan and his associates used a factory in Malaysia to manufacture key parts for centrifuges, and purchased other necessary parts through network operatives based in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Libya, Iran, and North Korea were customers of the Khan network.

As a result of information acquired through intelligence operations, authorities stopped the ship BBC China as it was heading for Libya, seizing a number of containers of sophisticated centrifuges parts manufactured at the Malaysian facility. The interdiction of the BBC China and Libya's subsequent voluntary renunciation of its nuclear program is an example of what PSI can achieve and why compliance with UNSCR 1540 is so urgently needed.

Shutting down such proliferation networks, ensuring that they are not reconstituted, and preventing the formation of other similar networks is imperative to the security of the international community.

ELIMINATING LIBYA'S WMD PROGRAMS

In December 2003, Libya made a clear commitment to eliminate all of its WMD and longer-range missile programs. Since then, Libya has worked in partnership with the U.S., U.K., IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], and OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] to meet its commitments.

Libya permitted the United States to remove large quantities of proliferation-sensitive material, including nuclear weapon design documents that A.Q. Khan provided, over 1,000 metric tons of nuclear equipment, and SCUD-C missiles and their launchers. In addition, the United States arranged the removal of more than 15 kilograms of fresh highly enriched uranium reactor fuel to Russia. Libya also destroyed over 3,000 chemical munitions and consolidated and secured its stocks of chemical weapons agent and precursors.

During the course of this cooperative elimination project, the Libyan experience established a new model for the return of an isolated state to the broader international community through the verifiable elimination of illicit WMD and longer-range missile programs.

EXPORT CONTROL AND RELATED BORDER SECURITY ASSISTANCE

A key tool in countering the proliferation of WMD, their delivery systems, and related technologies is effective export and border controls. To meet this objective, the U.S. works to ensure that potential suppliers have proper controls on export of munitions, dual-use goods, and related technologies. It also works to ensure that countries with well-trafficked transit and transshipment points have the tools to interdict illicit shipments crossing their territories and implement controls to prevent diversions.

The Department of State-coordinated Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS) program is the United States' primary vehicle for assisting foreign governments to establish and implement effective export and border controls that meet international standards. In addition, under the Department of Defense/Customs program, the U.S. has signed numerous WMD agreements and are providing technical assistance throughout Europe and Eurasia.

The assistance provided by the EXBS program directly supports the objectives of UNSCR 1540 and helps countries fulfill their commitments in other areas, such as those related to participation in, or adherence to, the multilateral nonproliferation regimes and participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative.

Drawing on the expertise from the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Commerce, Energy, and Defense, and the private sector, the EXBS program has helped countries around the world improve their ability to prevent and interdict shipments of dangerous items and technology by providing a wide variety of practical assistance tailored to each individual country's needs. The EXBS program assists governments to strengthen their export controls by improving their legal and regulatory frameworks, licensing processes, border control and investigative capabilities, outreach to industry, and interagency coordination.

Taking into account the global nature of the proliferation threat, the U.S. has significantly broadened the EXBS program's focus from potential WMD source countries of the Former Soviet Union to include potential source countries in South Asia, as well as key producers of controlled items and key transit and transshipment countries in Southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa.


 

 

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