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Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 24, 2008

United States Efforts to Protect International Aviation from Man-Portable Air Defense Systems Attacks

The United States has for many years undertaken a vigorous effort to prevent Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), often referred to as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, from being acquired by criminals and terrorists, and used against international aviation. It continues to cooperate on a bilateral basis and in international fora to help make the world’s skies safe for all.


Since 2003, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (www.state.gov/t/pm/wra) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, with the assistance of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, has helped 22 countries to destroy over 24,000 of their MANPADS that were obsolete, excess to their defense needs, or at risk of falling into the wrong hands. Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Guinea, Hungary, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, and Sudan are among the countries that have received United States assistance in this regard. These efforts continue. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency are also assisting countries to improve the security and management of their stockpiles of MANPADS as well as other arms and munitions.


The United States has worked in international fora and bilaterally to strengthen controls over the export of MANPADS and stockpile security. Over 95 countries have agreed to ensure the standards established are put in place.

2003: G-8 Evian Summit leaders reached consensus on a United States-initiated MANPADS Action Plan. The Wassenaar Arrangement (www.wassenaar.org), the first multilateral arrangement covering conventional weapons and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies, adopted strengthened guidelines for control over MANPADS transfers.

2004: Similar guidelines were adopted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and then by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.

2005: The Organization of American States 35th General Assembly also adopted similar guidelines in Resolution AG/RES 2145 (XXXV-O/05). The United States announced the start of a NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund Project (www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2005/42472.htm) to help Ukraine destroy stockpiles of its excess munitions, small arms, light weapons and MANPADS. 2005 also marked the signing of the United States - Russia Arrangement on Cooperation in Enhancing Control of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems.


Released on January 24, 2008

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