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23rd Missile Technology Control Regime Plenary Meeting

Bureau of International Security Nonproliferation
November 5-7, 2008
Canberra, Australia

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) held its 23rd Plenary Meeting in Canberra from 5 to 7 November 2008 to review its activities and to further strengthen the efforts of partner countries to prevent missile proliferation. The Plenary was opened by Mr. Michael L’Estrange, Secretary of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and chaired by Mr. John Quinn of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who was confirmed as Chair of the MTCR until the next Plenary.

MTCR Partners discussed proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery that constitute a threat to international peace and security. They recognised that more must be done to discourage WMD means-of-delivery programmes and activities of proliferation concern. Special emphasis was placed on particular challenges posed by missile proliferation in Northeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Partners exchanged information on, and discussed, export control challenges, and reaffirmed their determination to strengthen MTCR controls to meet existing and emerging proliferation threats, including those posed by rapid technological change.

The Plenary discussed a number of proposals to maintain the accuracy and comprehensiveness of MTCR controls, and agreed on changes to the list of controlled goods (the Annex). The Plenary also agreed on measures to be implemented on a national level to improve the effectiveness of MTCR controls.

Partners noted the direct relevance of UN Security Council Resolutions, inter alia, 1718, 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1835, to MTCR export controls and expressed their determination to implement these resolutions and to exercise vigilance and prevent the transfer of any items, materials, goods and technology that could contribute to WMD missile programmes of proliferation concern, in accordance with their national legislation and consistent with international law.

More broadly, Partners reiterated their support for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which calls on all States to establish effective national export controls to prevent the proliferation of WMD, their means of delivery and related materials, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law. The Plenary agreed that the MTCR chair should continue to pursue contact with the 1540 Committee.

MTCR guidelines and control lists constitute an international export control standard which is increasingly adhered to by non-members of the MTCR. MTCR Partners encouraged countries that are not members of the MTCR to apply MTCR guidelines and control lists. Partners confirmed their intention individually and through the outreach activities of the Chair to consult and cooperate with non-members to promote effective export controls over missiles and missile technology. The Australian Chair was mandated to conduct outreach activities with a diverse range of non-member States.

Partners welcomed Brazil’s offer to host the next Plenary Meeting in the second half of 2009 and to serve as Chair of the MTCR for the subsequent term of office.

The MTCR, established in 1987, aims to control exports of missiles and other unmanned systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

The MTCR has 34 members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Further information on the MTCR can be found at www.mtcr.info.

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