• WMD proliferation top concern in bilateral talks

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    The Philippines and the United States recently met in Manila and discussed ways to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems and related materials in the first bilateral Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

    The US Department of Defense and the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Council-Program Management Center led representatives from nearly 20 entities from the Philippine government and four from the US government in the discussions.

    Participants sought to examine national and international legal authorities that enable WMD interdictions; exercise government decision-making processes; discuss challenges in countering WMD proliferation when only limited or ambiguous information is available; demonstrate benefits of cooperation within the PSI context; and consider mutual roles in implementing relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

    “The challenges in preventing WMD proliferation are not getting any easier, with bad actors seeking to acquire dual-use materials to advance their WMD or missile programs, disguising the transactions and using front companies to hide the end users. We are pleased that the government of the Philippines partnered with us to explore these issues and to demonstrate their continued commitment to PSI’s Statement of Interdiction Principles,” Andrea Yaffe, the US leader for the event, said.

    “PSI is an area of increased cooperative engagement, not only between the US and Philippine governments but also with other PSI partner countries as we perform our international obligations under the UN Security Council mandates,” retired major general Danilo Servando, head of the Philippine delegation, said in his opening statement.

    The PSI is an international cooperative effort endorsed by 105 countries to stop trafficking in WMD, their delivery systems and related materials to and from state and non-state actors of proliferation concern.

    It is designed to counter the threat posed by WMD proliferation through international cooperation and information sharing and, when necessary, coordinated action.

    The PSI is an activity, not an organization, and participation is voluntary: Each participating state decides whether and how to engage in PSI activities on a case-by-case basis.

    Participating countries demonstrate their commitment to the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles by undertaking actions consistent with their national legal authorities and relevant international law and legal frameworks.

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