SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES SUPPORT FOR EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN NUCLEAR SAFEGUARDS,
ENCOURAGES COUNTRIES TO CONCLUDE SAFEGUARDS AGREEMENTS
Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the forty-seventh General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, delivered today by Nobuyasu Abe, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs:
I am pleased to send my greetings to the forty-seventh General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Some fifty years after the "Atoms for Peace" initiative, the IAEA's work in promoting the peaceful use of nuclear technologies and verifying compliance with solemn safeguards obligations is more important than ever.
The Director General, Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei, and the staff of the Agency have brought great professionalism and purpose to their work in what has been a challenging year, especially with respect to Iraq. I support the Agency's continuing efforts to strengthen international safeguards -- in particular, to promote conclusion of Additional Protocols by Iran and other States, and to encourage other countries to conclude safeguards agreements with the Agency. I call for the early resumption of the Agency's safeguards activities in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. I share with many the hope that we will see new progress in achieving adherence to comprehensive safeguards by all States, including in the Middle East and South Asia. I also share the conviction of many that efforts in the field of nuclear non-proliferation must be complemented by progress in the field of nuclear disarmament -- an issue in which the Agency has an abiding interest.
Advances in these various areas would significantly reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism, as would further progress in the Agency's efforts to ensure the safety and security of nuclear facilities and prevent the illicit trafficking of nuclear material and radiation sources.
While the international community is rightly concerned to prevent potentially dangerous uses of nuclear technology, that technology remains an important factor in economic development. The IAEA's efforts to promote public health and environmental protection, to increase food supplies, and to promote sustainable growth and development are vitally important.
I look forward to continuing to work with the IAEA in advancing the causes of peace and sustainable development, and I wish you all the best for a successful conference.
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