The exclusive use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes was more important that ever, as the challenges of eradicating poverty and preserving the environment gave rise to the need for efficient technology transfers, including nuclear technology, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed Elbaradei told the Assembly this morning, as it met to consider the Agency's annual report and a related draft resolution.
As both developed and developing countries were faced with major energy choices to meet the growing needs of their economies and populations without unnecessarily contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, there were compelling reasons why nuclear energy should continue to be a major component of many national energy strategies for a sustainable future, Mr. Elbaradei continued. However, there were substantial hurdles, particularly with respect to public acceptance in some countries. The role of the IAEA was to ensure that the facts were available for the nuclear power option to be given a full and fair hearing.
In addition, he said, the recent nuclear tests made it clear that the international community must accelerate its efforts towards nuclear arms reduction and nuclear disarmament. To that end, a verification system should provide a high degree of assurance that States were in full compliance with their obligations. As the Agency learned in the Iraqi case, such a system must not only verify declared nuclear activities, but also detect possible undeclared activities at an early stage. While a strengthened safeguards system was proceeding, he noted the Agency was having difficulties in carrying out safeguards activities in two special cases, Iraq and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The representative of India told the Assembly that, from the point of view of developing countries, the focus of the IAEA should be on the statutory technical issues, such as nuclear power, and not on extraneous political issues related to nuclear disarmament -- a subject better dealt with by the Conference on Disarmament. Developing countries had the greatest need for energy growth and they were not so allergic to nuclear power as some developed countries, which often had a surfeit of other forms of energy.
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The future of nuclear power was inseparably linked with the need to meet growing safety requirements, said the representative of the Russian Federation. He was pleased that the Agency had begun to play a more active role in that field. Its safeguards system and verification activities allowed for a technically precise, politically impartial and legally indisputable analysis of the nature of nuclear activities carried out by non-nuclear-weapon States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The representative of Iraq, speaking as he introduced an amendment to the draft resolution on the IAEA's report, said he rejected attempts to politicize the resolution on the IAEA. The text was an example of how some States were trying to deform the report of the Agency. The report itself confirmed that the few remaining questions about Iraq's previous programme could be dealt with through continued ongoing monitoring. The Agency had carried out its task of disarmament and that would not have been possible without Iraq's full cooperation with the Agency.
In other action this morning, the Assembly decided to appropriate some $78.2 million for three United Nations peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999, on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).
Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted resolutions on financing the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) and the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP). For MINURSO, an additional amount of some $37.2 million gross ($34.4 million net) was appropriated; for UNMOT, approximately $12 million gross (about $11.1 million net); and for UNPREDEP, $29 million gross (approximately $28.2 million net).
Also this morning, by adopting without a vote a resolution on emergency assistance to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, the Assembly appealed to all Member States, organs and bodies of the United Nations system, and financial institutions and development agencies, to provide speedy support to the relief, rehabilitation and assistance efforts for those countries affected by Hurricane Mitch. The resolution was introduced by the representative of Honduras.
The Assembly also decided to defer its consideration of the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) and to include it in its next session.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Mexico, Republic of Korea, Austria (speaking on behalf of the European Union), South Africa, Australia, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic and Japan. The representative of Slovenia introduced the draft resolution on the IAEA.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue its consideration of the Report of the IAEA and take action on a related draft resolution.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to consider the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), three reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), and the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It was also expected to take action on a draft resolution on special economic assistance to individual countries or regions.
Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
The report of the Special Committee on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples, (document A/53/23 Part XIII) states that the Special Committee took up the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) as a separate item at its plenary meetings in July and approved, without a vote, a draft resolution. That text was then transmitted to the Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of the United Kingdom and Argentina for the attention of their Governments.
By the terms of its decision, the Special Committee reiterated the need for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the dispute on the question of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom, and took note of the views expressed by Argentina at the fifty-second session of the General Assembly. It expressed regret that in spite of the widespread international support for a negotiation between the two parties, the implementation of relevant General Assembly resolutions on that question had not yet started.
The Special Committee also requested the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume the negotiations and reiterated its firm support for the mission of good offices of the Secretary-General. Finally, the Committee decided to keep under review the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) subject to directives of the Assembly in that regard.
Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) Reports
The Assembly had before it the Committee's report, recommending the adoption of a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/53/544). By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would appropriate an additional amount of some $37.2 million gross (approximately $34.4 million net) for MINURSO operations from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999, taking into account the approximately $22.7 million already appropriated for 1 July to 31 October 1998. It would decide to apportion and appropriate this $37.2 million for the period 1 November 1998 to 30 June 1999, subject to a Security Council decision to extend the mandate of the Mission beyond 31 October 1998.
The Committee also recommends the adoption of a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT)
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(document A/53/545). By the terms of the draft contained on the Committee's report, the Assembly would appropriate approximately $12 million gross (about $11.1 million net) for UNMOT operations from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999, in addition to the approximately $8 million already appropriated for the period from 1 July to 31 October 1998, and subject to a Security Council decision to extend the UNMOT mandate beyond 15 November 1998.
The Assembly also had before it the Committee's report, recommending the adoption of a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) (document A/53/546). By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would appropriate $29 million gross (approximately $28.2 million net) for UNPREDEP operations from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999, in addition to the approximately $21 million already appropriated. Of that amount, it would decide to apportion about $12.3 million for the period 1 July 1998 to 28 February 1999, and the remaining approximately $16.7 million for the period 1 March to 30 June 1999, subject to a decision by the Security Council to extend the mandate of the Force beyond 28 February.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Report
The Assembly also had before it this morning the annual report of the IAEA and a related draft resolution. The review noted global developments in 1997 relevant to the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Transmitted by a note of the Secretary-General (document A/53/286), the report states that the international framework to help ensure that nuclear energy is used safely and solely for peaceful purposes was strengthened through the approval in May of a Model Protocol Additional to Safeguard Agreements. The Protocol provides the legal basis necessary to enhance the Agency's ability to detect undeclared nuclear material and activities. Through the Protocol, each State undertakes to provide more information about its nuclear programme and the Agency is given greater access rights.
The report notes other IAEA efforts to strengthen the international framework on nuclear material safety, among them: the third inter-agency meeting on the Illicit Cross-border Movement of Nuclear Materials and Other Radioactive Substances convened in Vienna, with the aim of establishing a coordination mechanism for the participating organizations; the convening in April of the Preparatory Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety; a diplomatic conference in September to adopt the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management; and a diplomatic conference to amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.
The report also describes Agency contributions during the year to the United Nations system-wide objective of sustainable development, as articulated in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. In particular, the report notes the IAEA's
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technical cooperation programmes in harnessing nuclear technology for areas as varied as insect pest eradication and proper water resources management in developing countries.
According to the report, nuclear energy continued to make a significant contribution to meeting the global demand for electricity. World electricity consumption rose some 3 per cent in 1997 over the figure for the previous year, of which nuclear energy contributed about 17 per cent. The year under review also included the meeting in December in Kyoto, Japan of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where the IAEA presented its work on the costs and benefits of nuclear and other energy alternatives.
The report notes that, at the request of the Security Council, the Agency has maintained a continuous presence of inspectors in the Nyongbyon area in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for the purpose of monitoring the "freeze" on their nuclear reactors and facilities. A number of inspection related issues remain open or unsolved, including the monitoring of the liquid nuclear waste at the reprocessing plant and access to technical support buildings at particular sites. During the year, the Democratic People's Republic agreed to designate more inspectors and to improve communications with the IAEA. However, no progress was made in two technical meetings during the year between the Democratic People's Republic and the Agency verifying compliance of its safeguards agreement. As a result, the Agency is still unable to verify that declaration.
By the terms of the draft resolution on the IAEA report (document A/53/L.18), the Assembly would welcome the measures taken by the Agency to maintain and strengthen the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of the safeguards system, in particular the Model Additional Protocol approved on 15 May with a view to detecting undeclared nuclear activities. The Assembly would urge its rapid and universal implementation by all concerned States and other parties, in compliance with their respective international commitments, and would request all concerned States and other parties to safeguards agreements to conclude additional protocols without delay.
The Assembly would further urge all States to cooperate in carrying out the work of the Agency in: promoting the use of nuclear energy; strengthening the safety of nuclear installations and minimizing risks to life, health and the environment; strengthening technical assistance and cooperation for developing countries; and ensuring the effectiveness of the safeguards systems of the Agency.
The text would also have the Assembly commend the Agency and it's Director-General for their continuing efforts to implement the safeguards agreement still in force between the Agency and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Recognizing the important role of the Agency in monitoring the freeze of nuclear facilities in that country, as requested by the Security Council, the text expresses deep concern about the continuing non-compliance of the
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Democratic People's Republic with the safeguards agreement and would call upon that country to comply fully with such agreements. To that end, the Assembly urges the Democratic People's Republic to cooperate fully with the IAEA in verifying the accuracy and completeness of the initial report on the inventory of nuclear material subject to safeguards.
The Assembly would also commend the Agency and its Director-General for their efforts to implement Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq. The Assembly would call upon Iraq to cooperate fully in meeting its obligations under relevant Council resolutions and the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and the Secretary-General on 23 February, as well as to resume dialogue with the Agency immediately. The Assembly would and stress that greater transparency by Iraq would contribute greatly to the resolution of the remaining questions and concerns.
An amendment to the draft (document A/53/L.19), would add language at the end of operative paragraph 7, which concerns Iraq, by which the Assembly would note that the report of the IAEA Director General of 7 October states that "Should Iraq recommence full cooperation fully with the IAEA, there would be no impediment to the full implementation of the Agency's OMV (Ongoing Monitoring and Verification) plan and, as part of that plan, the further investigation of the few remaining questions and concerns and any other aspects of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme arising out of new information coming to the Agency's attention". The Assembly would further note that the Director- General's report states that "the Agency's verification activities in Iraq have resulted in the evolution of a technically coherent picture of Iraq's...nuclear programme" and that "furthermore, there are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance".
The draft further welcomes the entry into force on 24 October of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, appeals to all States to become parties to it so that it obtains the widest possible adherence, and expresses its satisfaction that an organizational meeting of the contracting parties was held from 29 September to 2 October and that a first review meeting will begin on 12 April 1999.
It also welcomes the measures taken by the Agency to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear materials and other radioactive sources and, in that context, decides to bear in mind, while elaborating an international convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, the activities of the Agency in that regard.
The sponsors of the draft resolution are Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia,
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South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.
Special Economic Assistance
By the terms of the draft resolution (document A/53/L.17) on emergency assistance to Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, the Assembly would appeal to all Member States and all organs and bodies of the United Nations system, and financial institutions and development agencies, to provide speedy support for the relief, rehabilitation and assistance effort for the affected countries. It would request the Secretary-General and the above mentioned bodies to assist the affected countries in assessing their needs and to help ensure the rehabilitation and recovery of the economy and the affected population in the short, medium and long term. It would further request the relevant organs of the United Nations system and other multilateral organizations to increase their support and assistance for building the disaster-preparedness capacity of the countries concerned.
The draft is sponsored by Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel and Nicaragua.
Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) Reports
The Assembly adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution recommended by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on financing the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara in (document A/53/544).
ABDESALAM MEDINA (Morocco) drew attention to an error in the French text, in operative paragraph 1. The term "observation" should not be in that paragraph. He asked that it be corrected.
The Assembly also adopted, without a vote, the draft resolutions on financing the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (document A/53/545) and financing the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (document A/53/546).
Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
The Assembly decided to defer consideration of the question and to include it in the provisional agenda of its fifty-fourth session.
Special Economic Assistance
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The Assembly adopted without a vote the draft resolution on emergency assistance to Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama (document A/53/L.17).
Report of IAEA
MOHAMED ELBARADEI, Director-General, IAEA, said that the organization had two objectives: to enlarge the safe use of nuclear energy for peace and development; and to ensure, so far as it was able, that nuclear energy was used exclusively for peaceful purposes. The pursuit of those twin objectives was more important than ever, as the challenges of eradicating poverty and preserving the environment gave rise to the need for efficient technology transfers, including nuclear technology.
Further, he added, the Kyoto Conference, which raised awareness of the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change, had further highlighted the necessity for environmentally benign sources of energy. The recent nuclear tests, as well, made it clear that the international community must accelerate its efforts towards nuclear arms reduction and nuclear disarmament.
As noted by the Secretary-General, global disarmament must remain at the top of the international agenda, he said. To that end, a verification system should provide a high degree of assurance that States were in full compliance with their obligations. As the Agency learned in the Iraqi case, such a system must not only verify declared nuclear activities, but also detect possible undeclared activities at an early stage, which was the main objective of the Model Additional Protocol, adopted in May. To date, such Protocols for 33 States and parties to safeguards agreements had been approved by the Agency. He hoped that by year 2000 all States would have signed and brought them into force.
While a strengthened safeguards system was proceeding, he noted the Agency was having difficulties in carrying out safeguards activities in two special cases. Its current inability to inspect new sites in Iraq seriously weakened the Ongoing Monitoring Verification (OMV) plan and any assurance that there was no concealed nuclear material or equipment in that country. He called for Iraq's resumption of full cooperation and the restoration of the Agency's right to full and free access.
Also, he continued, little progress had been made in eleven rounds of technical discussions between the Agency and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, because the Democratic People's Republic accepted Agency activities solely within the context of the Agreed framework and not under its safeguards agreement. The Democratic People's Republic had repeatedly linked progress with the Agency to the implementation of the Agreed Framework and the construction of the two light water reactors.
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In addition to a complete ban on nuclear testing, the Agency felt that the production of fissile materials for weapon purposes and the gradual reduction of stockpiles of such material were indispensable to disarmament efforts, he continued. The possible establishment of a Nuclear Arms Control Verification Fund, based on assessed contributions, could be a viable option to finance disarmament initiatives.
He said the Agency had also further contributed to nuclear technology transfer for development. Harnessing nuclear energy had already been used successively in contributing to food security, reducing anaemia and faltering growth in children, increasing the freshwater supply and upgrading radiation therapy for cancer patients. Finally, he said that the Agency focused on several global environmental issues in the application of nuclear science and technology in sustainable development, including radioactive waste and management of spent fuel.
Both developed and developing countries were faced with major energy choices to meet the growing needs of their economies and populations without unnecessarily contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, he added. There were compelling reasons why nuclear energy, together with improved efficiency, greater use of renewable energy resources and clean technologies for improved use of fossil fuels, should continue to be a major component of many national energy strategies for a sustainable future.
However, he said, there were substantial hurdles, particularly with respect to public acceptance in some countries. The role of the IAEA was to ensure that the facts were available for the nuclear power option to be given a full and fair hearing. To that end, it had developed the "Decades" database and methodology for the comparative assessment of different energy chains and conversion technology options. Currently, there were nuclear reactors operating in 31 countries that provided about 17 per cent of electricity and accounted for the avoidance of about 18 per cent of global carbon emissions.
DANILO TURK (Slovenia), said the Agency continued to act as a forum for assessing experience and sharing ideas on national and international developments. It had successfully culminated years of work on strengthening the international legal framework to help ensure that nuclear energy was used safely and solely for peaceful purposes. The Agency also continued its valuable contribution to protection of the environment and promotion of sustainable development, and had made significant contributions in the fields of insect pest eradication and proper water resources management.
At its meeting last September, the IAEA Board of Governors elected a representative of Slovenia as its Chairman for the 1998-1999 period. It was in that capacity that his delegation was introducing the draft resolution. The draft reflected the main achievements of the Agency in the key areas related to energy development, nuclear safety, verification and technology transfer.
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He then introduced the draft resolution on the IAEA Report (document A/53/L.18) and said the following countries had joined as co-sponsors: Bulgaria, Greece, Monaco, New Zealand and Luxembourg. He hoped the text would receive wide support among Member States.
Introducing the amendment to the draft resolution (document A/53/L.19), SAEED H. HASSAN (Iraq) said that his country rejected attempts to politicize the resolution on the IAEA. Operative paragraph 7 of the draft was an example of how some States, including permanent members of the Security Council, were trying to deform the report of the Agency. At the end of that paragraph, it was stressed that "greater transparency by Iraq would contribute greatly to the resolution of the remaining questions and concerns". The report of the Agency, however, stated that cooperation by Iraq would contribute "to the further investigation of the few remaining questions and concerns".
The Member States could probably guess the aim of the change that had taken place, he said. For that reason, his delegation proposed the amendment, to make the draft more balanced. The amendment quoted the report of the Agency verbatim. The text of the report confirmed that the few remaining questions about Iraq's previous programme could be dealt with through continued ongoing monitoring. It also stated that there were no indications that there remained in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance. The Agency had carried out its task of disarmament and that would not have been possible without Iraq's full cooperation with the Agency. He hoped that the amendment would be considered justly and fairly, and asked that voting on the draft be postponed until Wednesday, to allow ample time to consider the amendment.
MARIA ANGELICA ARCE (Mexico) said that it was a priority for her country to maintain and improve all nuclear infrastructure, which was vital for the protection of population and territory. It was committed to strengthening the legal regime established to guarantee global application of the basic principles of security. It also supported the work being done to prepare national reports to be examined at the first meeting of the Contract Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety to be held in 1999.
The Agency's annual report covered five areas regarding agriculture and food, she continued. She particularly noted the efforts of Member States in the area of pest control. She supported the Agency's activities in those areas, being that it constituted the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and her country continued to use nuclear energy to combat insect problems. Regarding food, the Mexican National Institute for Nuclear Research had achieved improvements in two varieties of wheat.
The report's conclusions in the area of technical cooperation for development were of concern, she said. While the Agency had taken further measures to improve effectiveness, in practice, there had been a reduction in contributions to the Technical Fund. She was also concerned about adequate
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resources for implementation of technical cooperation programmes. To implement its mandate, the Agency needed to maintain a balance between safety and technical assistance. She appealed to Member States of the Agency to fulfil the target of arriving at the goal of $73 million for technical cooperation by 1999. The four decades of its existence had demonstrated the need to have such a forum as the IAEA. The international community must work to strengthen its activities.
LEE SEE-YOUNG (Republic of Korea), said his country was now regarded as one of the major nuclear power generating States in the world. In August this year, it started operating two new units of nuclear power, bringing the country's total number of units in operation to 14. By the year 2015, the share of nuclear power in its total electric power generation was expected to increase from 34 per cent to 46 per cent, while the number of operational units would be doubled to 28. His country had also always supported the IAEA efforts to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of its safeguards system.
His Government believed that the strengthened safeguards system would endow the agency with the enhanced ability to detect undeclared nuclear activities, he continued. His Government had taken steps to incorporate measures required under the IAEA 1997 Model Additional Protocol into domestic laws and regulations, aimed at their early implementation. In addition, last year the Government strengthened the System for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, with a view to introducing a national safeguards inspection system. Under that system, the Government carried out national safeguards inspections in parallel with the IAEA safeguards inspections.
He said the international community had continuously called upon the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to come into full compliance with the IAEA safeguards agreement. In spite of consultations with the Agency, that country persisted in its non-cooperative attitude. Its non-compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) obligations, if left unchecked, could eventually undermine the competence and the authority of the IAEA as the guardian of non-proliferation. Inaction by the international community over such unprecedented non-compliance would only help weaken the nuclear non-proliferation regime itself, particularly when concerted action to strengthen that regime was, more than ever, required.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, ERNST SUCHARIPA (Austria) said that recent nuclear tests undertaken in South Asia had damaged stability in that region. He called on India and Pakistan to refrain from further nuclear tests and adhere to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Those countries should sign and ratify the Treaty swiftly and unconditionally. They should also adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The European Union welcomed India and Pakistan's intention to contribute to the negotiations on a fissile
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material cut-off treaty. The European Union also called on all States to sign and ratify the CTBT, especially those 44 states whose ratification was needed for the treaty to come into force.
On the topic of negotiations on a non-discriminatory and universally applicable fissile material cut-off treaty, he said that Austria -- the current Presidency of the European Union -- had tabled a draft decision on that treaty at the 1998 session of the Conference on Disarmament. The Union welcomed the achievement of consensus on the basis of the Shannon Report and the decision to establish an ad hoc committee to negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The Union was also committed to strengthening the IAEA safeguards system. Last June, the Council of the European Union had authorized the Commission to conclude the three additional protocols between the European Union member states, the European Atomic Energy Community and the IAEA. The Agreement was signed on 22 September 1998. He called on all countries and particularly upon India, Pakistan and Israel, to conclude the additional protocols without any delay and to accept full-scope IAEA safeguards. The European Union noted with interest the announcement by Cuba of its intention to enter into negotiations with the Agency on the possible adoption of some of the measures provided for in the model protocol.
The European Union called upon Iraq to cooperate fully with IAEA and strongly urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement with the Agency. The European Union reiterated its concern at the launch undertaken by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on 31 August. Regarding the safety of transport of nuclear material, he said that such transport was subject to an extensive system of rules in the European Union in order to ensure the safety of those activities. Given the global nature of that topic, the Union was grateful to IAEA for submitting a study of the international regulatory framework on that subject. Turning to the problems that the international community would face in the next millennium, he said that attention would have to be given to the further development of international nuclear law. The increasing number of nuclear power stations world-wide were approaching the end of their life cycles, which would also pose a problem. Another likely future task would be implementation of the verification provisions of the fissile material cut-off treaty. The outstanding expertise of the Agency could contribute to finding efficient and reliable solutions to those problems.
STEPHEN McQUEEN (South Africa) said that resources of the Agency for technical cooperation activities needed to be assured, predictable and sufficient to meet its objectives. The technical fund had levelled off in 1997, and in a time of growing demand, especially in Africa, there was the risk of undermining the Agency's crucial work. All Member States were urged to contribute to the Fund and those contributions should not be seen as voluntary, but as morally obligatory. South Africa supported the strengthening of safeguards, including the Additional Protocol, and would, on completion of the
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wide ranging reviews of programmes and legislation currently taking place, sign and ratify the Protocol. Just as the Agency was undergoing a thorough review of all its activities, so in South Africa a thorough review of all its energy- related legislation and activities was taking place.
South Africa welcomed the Trilateral Initiative between the Russian Federation, the United States and the Agency, he said. Verifying that fissile materials removed from nuclear weapons programmes were not again returned to military use would be an activity of great significance for the NPT. Also, it was heartened at the prospect of quantifiable progress in international nuclear disarmament, arising from that Initiative. Crucial questions did, however, arise over and above the technical and legal challenges posed by the Initiative. One challenge was the institutional implications for the Agency of involvement in the process. Regarding the amendment of Article VI of the Statute, he expressed regret that it was not possible to agree on an expansion of the Board of Governors and looked forward to ongoing discussions within the Agency to find a solution to that problem. Africa's continued under- representation on the Board remained an issue of great concern.
KAMALESH SHARMA (India) said that the recalcitrant approach of the nuclear-weapon States, as defined by the NPT, to work towards nuclear disarmament and India's own compelling national security concerns had led his country this year to redefine the parameters of its security requirements. The countries that had chosen to vehemently criticize the recent tests were either the established nuclear-weapon States or those who had already addressed their nuclear security concerns through agreements or understandings with nuclear States. He welcomed the call of the non-aligned countries for an international conference with the objective of arriving at an agreement, before the end of this millennium, on a phased programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time.
From the point of view of developing countries, he said the focus of the IAEA should be on the statutory technical issues, such as nuclear power, and not on extraneous political issues related to nuclear disarmament -- a subject better dealt with by the Conference on Disarmament. To improve the technical capabilities of developing countries, the IAEA, along with the Indian Department of Atomic Energy, had recently held in India an international seminar on nuclear power in developing countries. Developing countries had the greatest need for energy growth and they were not so allergic to nuclear power as some developed countries, which often had a surfeit of other forms of energy.
The Agency needed to ensure that scientific cooperation in that field was not inhibited by the commercial interests of the vendors, he said. Safety- related equipment and information on the development of safety issues should be readily disseminated without being hindered by arbitrary and politically motivated export control regimes. Safety, while necessary, must be confined to the respective States' obligations. In conclusion, he said that there was a strong need for restoring the original scientific and technical character of the
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IAEA. It should not be allowed to degenerate into a shadow political forum trying to replay debates appropriate for the General Assembly.
PENNY WENSLEY (Australia) said that the recent nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan demonstrated there was no room for complacency in combating the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Far from undermining or weakening it, it served to emphasize the strong political will to maintain and strengthen the non-proliferation regime. The IAEA was one of the central pillars of that regime of which the NPT was the cornerstone. The Agency would play an important role in the development of verification machinery in an eventual fissile material cut-off treaty, which her country strongly supported.
The sooner the NPT achieved universal membership and full implementation, the safer the world would be, she said. Australia was committed to strengthening the Agency's safeguards system, which was critical to international security. Its importance had been recently demonstrated by the need and ability to detect undeclared nuclear activities in such countries as Iraq and for assurances on the status of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear programme. Respective national security interests also dictated that States do everything in their power to limit further proliferation in all regions of concern. The efficacy of the strengthened safeguards system would depend on how soon States signed on to the Model Additional Protocol.
Her Government placed a high priority on the IAEA's technical cooperation programme, she continued. The changes made to the design standards of technical cooperation projects were expected to maximize the economic and social benefits of nuclear technology to the most needy countries. She supported regional cooperation on a wide range of nuclear science and technology areas. Her country's next project would focus on the application of radioisotope technology in Asia and the Pacific. In conclusion, her Government noted the budgetary pressures under which the Agency had been operating since the imposition of zero real growth structures 14 years ago and called on Member States to meet their financial obligations to the Agency.
AKMARAL ARYSTANBEKOVA (Kazakhstan) said the safeguards agreement between Kazakhstan and the IAEA, signed in August 1995, had entered into force and was being successfully implemented. All of her country's peaceful nuclear activity had been placed under the Agency's safeguards. Under consideration was the possibility of signing an additional protocol to the comprehensive safeguards agreement, which would make it possible to increase the effectiveness of measures to maintain and strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime in the country and the transparency of its nuclear activity.
A State nuclear materials accountancy and control system had been established in her country and was in operation, she went on. Relevant national legislation defined the basic principles for regulating the nuclear sphere and laid down the nuclear and radiation safety rules and regulations. In February, her Government had approved regulations for the licensing of activity
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relating to the use of atomic energy, which had become the main mechanism for Kazakhstan's national atomic energy agency.
She said that for the forthcoming biennium, 1999-2000, a number of projects had been included in Kazakhstan's programme of technical cooperation with the IAEA. In particular, it was proposed to: conduct an analysis of the safety of a new nuclear power station and the economic feasibility of constructing it in southern Kazakhstan; set up a low-background radiological laboratory to study the situation in western Kazakhstan; and to conduct a number of other projects of importance to her country. Active cooperation between her Government and the Agency was continuing on a study of the radiological situation in the territory of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear-testing ground.
VLADIMIR GALUSKA (Czech Republic) said the mandate given to the IAEA by its statute became even more relevant in light of the nuclear tests carried out in South Asia. The efforts of the international community to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons must not diminish. The Czech Republic was among the countries whose territories were used for the illicit traffic in nuclear materials. That problem was a growing threat and the challenge was to find the ways and means to combat organized gangs of traffickers.
He said the most effective protection against illicit trafficking was the strict application of the measures of the States System of Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials in the countries of their origin -- countries where nuclear materials got into the hands of unauthorized persons. Mutual cooperation between the IAEA and Member States should also play an important role in that field. In line with its long-term policy in the field of safe management and of radioactive waste and spent fuel, the Czech Republic had signed the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
That Convention, he continued, was a fundamental, legally binding instrument that introduced the highest safety standards to a very sensitive area. Touching upon the issue of IAEA technical assistance and cooperation, he said the mandate of the Agency was to promote the worldwide, peaceful use of nuclear energy in all spheres of human activities. That mandate could be discharged only by means of effective programmes of technical assistance and predictable financial resources. Member States must determine how the target figures proposed for the Technical Cooperation Fund could be met. Those States should accept their responsibility and pay the Fund's pledges in full and on time.
A.Y. GRANOVSKY (Russian Federation) said a serious problem was the use of fissile materials that had been declared as no longer needed for defence purposes. His country believed that disengaged nuclear materials had to be used, first of all, in nuclear power production. It had initiated and successfully carried out a number of international projects aimed at the detailed technical and economic analysis of the problems raised in that regard.
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The agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States on the treatment of plutonium removed from nuclear military programmes played a significant role in those efforts.
He said that transparency in the sphere of the use of materials removed from weapons programmes was a new track of work for the Agency. In that context, the joint work of Russian, American and IAEA experts in the framework of the 1996 trilateral agreement concerning the application of the Agency's verification procedures to weapons-grade fissile materials, claimed as redundant for defence purposes, was of great importance.
The future of nuclear power was inseparably linked with the need to meet growing safety requirements, he said. It was important to further develop positive initiatives agreed on at the Moscow Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security. He was pleased to note that the Agency had begun to play a more active role in that field. The Russian Federation stood for an enhanced interaction between States to halt nuclear smuggling. Also, it supported the Agency's activities aimed at improving the safeguards system. The Agency's verification activities had to continue to be a priority, allowing it to make technically precise, politically impartial and legally indisputable analyses of the nature of nuclear activities carried out by non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the NPT.
MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said the nuclear tests conducted in South West Asia underscored the importance of maintaining and strengthening the safeguards system. He hoped that the Model Additional Protocol would be concluded by a broad range of countries and would become the norm as soon as possible. The Agency had to continue playing a key role in ensuring Iraqi compliance with its obligations under Security Council resolutions relating to the abolition of various types of weapons of mass destruction. His Government called on Iraq to rescind its decision of 5 August and 31 October, and resume immediate, complete and unconditional cooperation with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) on the disposal of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and IAEA. Until then, there would be no developments towards lifting the Council imposed sanctions.
Regarding the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, he reaffirmed that the IAEA-DPRK safeguards agreement between the IAEA and the Democratic People's Republic remained binding and in force. He was deeply concerned that the Democratic People's Republic had not cooperated with the IAEA with respect to the monitoring of the freezing of its facilities and had not taken clear measures to preserve information concerning its past nuclear activities. It was also regrettable that no progress had been made in the technical discussions between the Agency and the Democratic People's Republic. He urged the Democratic People's Republic to cooperate fully with the IAEA for the full implementation of the safeguards agreement. Finally, technical cooperation, which, aside from the maintenance of the safeguards system, was the major area of IAEA endeavours, had to be limited to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
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Special Economic Assistance
FAMATTA ROSE OSODE (Liberia), Acting President of the Assembly, said that following a request from the delegation of Honduras to reconsider, under Rule 81, the resolution adopted today on the item concerning special economic assistance, now Assembly resolution 53/1 C, the Assembly would now reconsider the resolution.
HUGO NOE PINO (Honduras) said that the following countries had joined the list of co-sponsors: China, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Uruguay, Venezuela, Greece, Spain, Senegal, Cyprus and Canada.
He said the affected countries were mobilizing for the tasks of rescuing and helping thousands of compatriots. That spirit of solidarity was strengthened when the international community came to their relief and support. The countries appealed to that solidarity, so that United Nations members and institutions would grant the required aid. The lack of food, potable water and medicines had made it a tragic situation. The magnitude of the damage was considerable and the task ahead was immense.
He then made an oral revision to the text. Operative paragraph 6 should read as follows: "Also requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly, under agenda item 20, through his report to the next humanitarian segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), on the collaborative effort referred to in paragraph 4 above and on progress made with the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama."
The Assembly adopted resolution 53/1 C, as orally revised.
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