Regional Operational Experts Group Meeting and Exercise Pacific Protector '10

Joint media release:

  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

MSPA 424/10

13 September 2010

Australia will host the first Regional Operational Experts Group (ROEG) meeting of Asia Pacific member countries of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) in conjunction with Exercise Pacific Protector '10, in Cairns from 14-16 September.

Defence will host the ROEG meeting, which brings together more than 120 personnel from key operational agencies in 19 PSI participant countries.

Australia is a founding member and active supporter of the PSI. PSI members are committed to cooperating practically to stop illicit trafficking in weapons of mass destruction-related materials and their delivery systems.

The ROEG meeting will strengthen regional cooperation and coordination on the PSI and enhance the operational capabilities of member countries to interdict or disrupt suspect shipments of goods that could be used in a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) program.

The PSI was established in 2003 and comprises 96 participant countries whose activities are coordinated by a 20-country Operational Experts Group, which includes Australia.

Exercise Pacific Protector '10, which is led by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and running in conjunction with the ROEG, will demonstrate Australia's capability to interdict an aircraft suspected of transporting a cargo of proliferation concern.

The two part exercise will involve a range of operational Australian agencies and will focus on the role of illicit brokers in WMD procurement and supply. No Defence assets will be involved in the exercise.

The Cairns ROEG and Exercise Pacific Protector '10 will send a strong signal to would-be proliferators that regional countries are politically and practically committed to stopping illicit trade in WMD.

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