• WARSAW 2006

  • A High-Level PSI Political Meeting was held on 23 June 2006 in Warsaw. Sixty-five  states supporting the PSI attended the conference. The main objective of the Meeting was to promote international cooperation in countering  threats ensuing  from WMD proliferation and the  attempts of terrorist groups and states sponsoring them  to acquire such weapons. The participation of a high number of states supporting the PSI permitted  a thorough examination of PSI achievements during the three years of its functioning, facilitated  discussion on the problems being encountered, and helped indicate the best practices and instruments to pursue  PSI objectives and discuss its future.


    The conference was divided into panels covering issues related to the experiences of PSI activities to date,  instruments employed by the PSI and  directions of its future evolution. The panellists were the states most strongly committed to the PSI.


    During the first panel, devoted to  strengthening  the potential of PSI states in counteracting proliferation, the speakers (Great Britain, France, the Czech Republic) pointed to the importance of the exercises conducted within the PSI framework. They made it possible to engage a number of domestic forces and bodies in WMD interdiction activities. It was pointed out that taking part in such exercises (either as a participant or in an observer capacity) might encourage other states to join the PSI. The participants underlined the need to improve the capacities of the particular services, also through national staff manoeuvres with the object of assessing cooperation between various services when faced with proliferation threats.


    At a panel devoted to PSI promotion, representatives of Australia, Canada, Croatia, Germany and Spain focused on the need to take further steps to propagate the Initiative. It was indicated (Canada) that the number of states supporting the PSI was still insufficient, particularly in regions where the proliferation threat was above  average. These activities should chiefly involve the clarification of any doubts that non-PSI states may have concerning the financial costs of participation in the PSI, its legal basis etc.


    Another panel, devoted to legal and law enforcement issues, brought together speakers from New Zealand, France, Germany, Japan and the US. The panellists agreed  there could be no doubt  that the  PSI was legal and rooted in international law. That followed from the Statement of Interdiction Principles (the basic PSI instrument) itself, which only  sanctioned counter-proliferation undertakings consistent with international law. UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on the prevention of proliferation and the amended Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts at Sea (SUA) also provided  legal basis for the PSI. Support  by the UN Secretary General and the 2004 conclusions of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change appointed by the UN Secretary General also constituted an important endorsement of PSI legality.


    The panellists agreed that PSI states should exchange information on their domestic legislation so as to facilitate cooperation between them in interdiction operations.


    A fourth panel focused on   co-operation of states with industry  and port authorities. Representatives of Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands and Singapore gave accounts of their own experiences of such cooperation. It was underlined that such collaboration was of key importance in preventing proliferation. Making shippers sensitive to the fact that they might become unwillingly involved in WMD trafficking would be part of PSI success. The head of the Dutch delegation advised that his country had established a permanent cooperation mechanism with  industry in the form of regular consultations with major shippers. The delegations also underlined government responsibility for any interdiction operations undertaken and  possible resultant compensation claims  by shippers. Thus,  appropriate legal protection should be ensured for state authorities.


    Yet another panel was devoted to the prevention of  proliferation financing. A US representative underlined that activities against this illicit practice should be pursued at the international cooperation level, particularly on the basis of Resolution 1540. The speaker pointed out that the financing of proliferation took place using  existing banking mechanisms, which made it easier to identify individuals and groups involved in such activities. He presented US Executive Order 13382 that listed natural and legal persons involved in WMD proliferation for whom access to the US financial market was prohibited. He indicated that PSI states should encourage their national financial institutions to pay attention to that threat. Also, legislation needed to be reviewed from this perspective.


    During the final part of the conference, devoted to the future of the PSI, the HLPM was also summed up. The chairman noted that the PSI  faced the challenge of reconciling  growth in the number of participating states  with the need for upgrading operational cooperation. It was important to prevent the PSI from losing its practical character, its flexibility in responding to threats, because of the growing number of the states involved.


    In conclusion of the conference, the Chairman's Statement was read out. The document summed up the three years of PSI existence, indicating  growing support for its principles and the fact that PSI activities were based on international law. The statement emphasized that PSI states had revised their domestic legalisation and improved their interdiction capacities. The conference participants intended to continue their anti-proliferation activities, including by strengthening their involvement in the PSI. The participants also planned to develop new mechanisms to counter proliferation (including by preventing the financing of proliferation), and would also support efforts to expand the PSI geographically. The participants indicated that their activities within the PSI framework had a beneficial impact on the international situation.


    The meeting strengthened the PSI. It helped increase the number of PSI participants, acquainted  delegations with the specific character of participation in the PSI and served to clarify  doubts occasionally voiced in the past by non-PSI countries.  

    Portable Document format fileChairman's Statement (85 KB)
    Portable Document format fileSpeech by the Minister of Foreign Afairs of Poland, Anna Fotyga (88 KB)
    Portable Document format fileMessage from the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski (54 KB)

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