STRENGTHENING OF NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION REGIME MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER,
Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Forty-Sixth General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), delivered by Jayantha Dhanapala, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, in Vienna today:
I am pleased to send my greetings to the forty-sixth General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
As all of you and, indeed, the world at large, are all too aware, nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation remain unfinished tasks. The strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, including concrete steps to reduce the number of and dependence on nuclear weapons, is more critical than ever for the continuing sustainability and credibility of that regime. The IAEA continues to play a central role in that regime through its long-standing work to verify compliance with non-proliferation obligations.
Effective measures are also needed to reduce the risk of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists. I urge the IAEA to continue its initiatives for this purpose, including its programmes aimed at safeguarding nuclear material against non-peaceful uses, ensuring the safety and security of nuclear facilities, and preventing the illicit trafficking of nuclear material and radiation sources.
Despite these concerns, peaceful uses of nuclear technologies and materials will continue to be an important factor in economic development –- not only in producing nuclear energy, but also in helping to fight disease, enhancing agricultural production, managing water resources and monitoring the environment. The IAEA must do its utmost to address the real concerns about safety and waste, and transform nuclear energy into a force for progress.
I look forward to working with the IAEA in facing these and other complex challenges, and I wish you success in your important deliberations.
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