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Fact Sheet: Strengthening International Efforts Against WMD Proliferation

February 11, 2004

"There is a consensus among nations that proliferation cannot be tolerated. Yet this consensus means little unless it is translated into action. Every civilized nation has a stake in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction."

President George W. Bush, February 11, 2004

Presidential Action

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) poses the most serious danger to the peace of the world. Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists or outlaw regimes could bring catastrophic harm to America and the international community. Recent developments, as highlighted by the President today, demonstrate the new, complex, and challenging threats to the international community from WMD.

President Bush today proposed seven new steps to help combat the development and spread of weapons of mass destruction. The policies will:

  • Improve and modernize nonproliferation laws to address new and changing threats;
  • Restrict the sale and transport of nuclear technologies and equipment;
  • Close a loophole in the nuclear nonproliferation regimes that allow states to pursue WMD under the false cloak of legitimacy; and
  • Expand efforts to secure and destroy nuclear weapons and materials.

Policy Recommendations

Law Enforcement Cooperation

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), announced by President Bush in May 2003, currently focuses on taking practical steps to interdict proliferation shipments of WMD, delivery systems, and related materials at sea, in the air, or on land.

  • The President proposes that participants in the PSI and other willing nations expand their focus and use Interpol and other mechanisms for law enforcement cooperation to take additional actions to pursue proliferators and end their operations.

Swift Passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution

  • The President calls for swift passage of the resolution he proposed in September 2003, requiring all states to criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls, and secure sensitive materials within their borders.

Expansion of G-8 Global Partnership

  • To ensure the nations of the world are doing all they can to secure and eliminate WMD and dangerous materials, the President proposes the expansion -- in funds, donors, and recipients -- of the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
  • The Partnership originally provided $20 billion in nonproliferation assistance to the former Soviet Union, it should now also work to reduce and secure dangerous materials elsewhere in the world.

Controls Against Enrichment and Reprocessing

Currently, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows states like Iran to develop the capability to produce weapons material under the cover of peaceful programs by pursuing a nuclear enrichment and reprocessing capability. The world must create a safe orderly system to fuel civilian nuclear reactors without adding to the danger of nuclear proliferation.

  • The President has proposed that the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group ensure that states which renounce enrichment and reprocessing technologies have reliable access, at reasonable cost, to fuel for civilian reactors.
  • The 40 states in the Nuclear Suppliers Group should refuse to sell uranium enrichment or reprocessing equipment or technology to any state that does not already possess full-scale, functioning enrichment or reprocessing plants.

Strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The President offers three key proposals to strengthen the IAEA in its work against nuclear proliferation.

  • First, all states should sign the IAEA Additional Protocol, which greatly expands the Agency's tools to detect clandestine nuclear activities. Signing of the Additional Protocol should be a condition for countries seeking equipment for their civilian nuclear programs by next year.
  • Second, the IAEA Board of Governors should create a special committee on safeguards and verification, to improve the organization's ability to monitor and enforce compliance with nuclear nonproliferation obligations.
  • Finally, no state under investigation for proliferation violations should be allowed to serve or continue serving on the IAEA Board of Governors or on the new special committee.

Key Accomplishments

Today, President Bush welcomed key accomplishments in our determined efforts to prevent and protect against the proliferation of WMD.

Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan Network

The President provided details on the activities of A. Q. Khan, who led an extensive international network for the proliferation of nuclear materials and knowledge. The President also discussed the actions of the U.S. and British governments in penetrating and ultimately shutting down this network:

  • 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, and several other countries expressed an interest in Khan's services.
  • Over several years, American and British intelligence services gradually uncovered the network's reach, and identified its key experts, agents, and financial network. This work involved substantial risk -- and all Americans can be proud of the hard work and dedication of our fine intelligence professionals.
  • As a result of our penetration of the network, American and British intelligence identified and tracked a shipment of advanced centrifuge parts. As part of the PSI, German and Italian authorities stopped the ship as it was heading for Libya, seizing several containers filled with parts for sophisticated centrifuges manufactured at the Malaysia facility.
  • The Government of Pakistan is interrogating the network's members, and learning critical details that will help prevent the network from ever operating again. President Musharraf has promised to share all the information he learns about the Khan network, and has assured us that his country will never again be a source of proliferation.


The President welcomed the historic decision of Colonel Qadhafi to end his weapons of mass destruction programs, and expects other regimes to follow his example. On December 19, 2003, Libya pledged to:

  • Eliminate all elements of its chemical and nuclear weapons programs;
  • Declare all nuclear activities to the IAEA;
  • Eliminate ballistic missiles with more than 300 km range when carrying a payload of 500 kg;
  • Accept international inspections to ensure Libya's complete adherence to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and sign the IAEA Additional Protocol; and
  • Eliminate all chemical weapons stocks and munitions, and accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Libya is now working in partnership with the United States, United Kingdom, the IAEA, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on implementing those commitments.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Strengthening International Efforts Against WMD Proliferation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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