GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES GLOBAL COOPERATION IN PEACEFUL USES OF NUCLEAR ENERGY, FOLLOWING DISCUSSION OF IAEA REPORT

1 November 2004
GA/10291

GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES GLOBAL COOPERATION IN PEACEFUL USES OF NUCLEAR ENERGY, FOLLOWING DISCUSSION OF IAEA REPORT

01/11/2004
Press ReleaseGA/10291

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

Plenary

47th & 48th Meetings (AM & PM)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES GLOBAL COOPERATION IN PEACEFUL USES

 

OF NUCLEAR ENERGY, FOLLOWING DISCUSSION OF iaea REPORT

 

Also Considers UN Contribution to Building Peace in Guatemala

The General Assembly today affirmed its confidence in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and urged global cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, following the annual address by Agency Chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

Adopting a resolution by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to one against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) with no abstentions, the Assembly affirmed its support for the IAEA’s indispensable role in the area of technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security.

The Assembly also took note of the important resolutions adopted by the Agency’s Governing Council in the past year, including on measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation and waste safety; on international nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness; and on strengthening the Agency’s technical cooperation activities.

In his annual report, Mr. ElBaradei told the Assembly that every year brought new challenges and opportunities, and the past 12 months had been no exception.  Global cooperation in matters of safety and security had resulted in sustained improvements overall, but there was still much to be done.  In the area of verification, the Agency’s activities remained at the centre of efforts to curb nuclear proliferation.  It had continued to prove its ability to conduct objective and credible safeguards -– but the international community still faced a number of difficult challenges -- and had intensified its focus on how to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Turning to specific countries and regions, he said the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to pose a serious challenge to the non-proliferation regime.  Since December 2002, the Agency had not performed any verification in that country and could not “provide any level of assurance about the non-diversion of nuclear material”.  The IAEA had continued to emphasize the need for a comprehensive settlement of the Korean crisis through dialogue that addressed all underlying issues, and it was his hope that the Six-party Talks would lead to such a settlement.

He went on to say that the Agency’s Board of Governors had adopted several resolutions on Iran’s past undeclared nuclear weapons programme, and had urged that country to, among other things, cooperate fully in the verification process.  One issue that remained central to understanding Iran’s nuclear programme was the extent and nature of its uranium enrichment activities.  The Agency was “making progress” in Iran but the Government needed to restore confidence with the global community by suspending its enrichment programme after previously providing the IAEA with information “that was at times changing, contradictory and slow in coming”.

He had also continued his consultations with States in the Middle East on the application of full scope safeguards to all nuclear activities in that region, and on the development of model agreements.  He regretted, nonetheless, that, once again, he had not been able to make progress on those fronts.  Still, based on his consultations with States, including with Israel, he intended to organize a forum for establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone early next year, and further consultations were progressing to that end.

On Iraq, he recalled that Security Council resolution 1546 had, among other things, reaffirmed the intention of the Council to revisit the Agency’s mandate in Iraq following the cessation of verification activities in March 2003.  It was important to bring the whole question of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to closure as early as possible and for the IAEA to resume the necessary verification and monitoring activities in Iraq as soon as the security situation permitted.

He added that Libya had renounced its programmes for nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, had signed an Additional Protocol and had actively cooperated with the IAEA’s efforts to verify its renunciation of its former nuclear weapons programme.  The Agency’s assessment to date had been that Libya’s declarations appear to be consistent with the information it had received.  Further investigation was needed to verify the completeness and correctness of that information.

Iran’s representative said membership in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and the IAEA safeguards regime, should not impede the peaceful use of nuclear technology, while non-membership was rewarded by acquiescence, “as in the case of development of one of the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons located in the Middle East”.  If anything, failure to accept the NPT and its safeguards obligations should have made the only outsider to the NPT in the Middle East the subject of the most severe restrictions and not have provided it with impunity.  He said that national efforts to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, with a view to fostering economic development, should not be hampered by “ulterior outside political considerations”.

In explanation of vote, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said charges that his country’s actions challenged the international non-proliferation regime amounted to “putting the cart before the horse”.  Such charges failed to address the heart of the matter:  his country’s actions were a direct outcome of the United States’ hostile policies towards it. Rejecting the resolution, he said his country was not a member of the IAEA nor was it a member of the NPT, chiefly because the Agency had abandoned its mandate and had become the exclusive tool of the superpowers.  Nevertheless, he continued to support the ultimate goal of the de-nuclearization of the KoreanPeninsula.

In other business today, the Assembly discussed the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA), which monitored the implementation of the 1996 peace agreements in that country.  The Assembly’s evaluation comes as the Mission prepares to close at the end of the year, after a decade of providing crucial support to the implementation of the peace accords.

Guatemala’s representative said that the peace agreements continued to be a work in progress, involving substantial advances and some limitations.  Despite the weakness of certain institutions necessary for the maintenance of the rule of law, the country had made substantial progress in promoting human rights and building a more inclusive and tolerant society.  As there were still overwhelming challenges ahead, the Government was committed to strengthening the national institutions that were preparing to take over the functions the Mission performed, as well as to reinforcing the National Civil Police and the national prison system.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Canada (on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Governors of the IAEA), Netherlands (on behalf of the European Union (EU) and associated States), Brazil (on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)), China, Pakistan, Ukraine, Malaysia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Cuba, Japan, Russian Federation, Angola, Ghana, Mexico, Colombia and Norway.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Japan, Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The Assembly will meet again at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, 4 November, when it is expected to take up the report of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Background

The General Assembly met this morning to take up the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and to discuss the situation in Central America.

Before the Assembly is a note by the Secretary-General (document A/59/295), transmitting the IAEA’s annual report.  It informs the Assembly of the report’s limited availability and urges delegations to have copies transmitted to them in time for the meeting.  The report covers 2003, and the annual address of the Agency’s Director General will update the Assembly on events that have transpired since its compilation.

According to the report, over the past year, a number of world events presented significant challenges for the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency. In the areas of nuclear non-proliferation, the IAEA has been the centre of attention and has demonstrated its ability to perform effective and credible inspections.  Last year also marked the fiftieth anniversary of the United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech to the Assembly, in which he offered a vision that would enable humanity to make full use of the benefits of nuclear energy while minimizing risks.  That vision had led to the Agency’s creation.  In addition, last year was one of noticeable success for the Agency in its efforts to ensure that the benefits of nuclear technology were shared globally for economic and social development.

The report goes on to highlight some of the major issues and challenges that faced the Agency –- and the international community –- during the year, while also looking ahead at emerging trends.  It points out that the management and disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste continued to be a critical issue, not only in terms of public acceptance of nuclear technology but for any planned expansion of nuclear energy in the future.  The report concludes that the scope of the Agency’s work continued to expand and that its agenda remains full.  There have been challenges in all areas of the Agency’s activities –- technology, safety and security, and verification –- to which it had responded appropriately.

By the terms of a related draft resolution (document A/59/L.18), the Assembly would affirm its support for the Agency’s indispensable role in encouraging and assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses, in technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security.  It would also have the Assembly take note of various resolutions adopted by the Agency’s General Conference over the past year, including on measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation and waste safety; international nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness; Israeli nuclear capabilities and threat; and implementation of the Agreement between the Agency and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Also before the Assembly is the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) (document A/59/307), detailing the implementation of the 1996 Guatemalan peace agreements.  The evaluation is being delivered at a critical juncture for Guatemala, as the Mission prepares to close at the end of 2004 after 10 years of providing crucial support to the implementation of the peace accords.  The Mission, in anticipation of its closing, has been engaged in a two-year phase-down of operations and in carrying out a transition strategy designed to build national capacity to promote the goals of the peace accords.

According to the report, the centrepiece of the transition effort throughout this year has been the National Transition Volunteers Programme, through which 60 young Guatemalan professionals, mostly indigenous, have gained valuable experience as verifiers and promoters of the peace.  In addition, the strategy has also sought to guarantee follow-through on the peace accords’ priorities by the United Nations system in the country, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which reached an agreement with the Government of Guatemala to establish an in-country office that would provide observation and technical assistance following the exit of the Mission.  Also in this final period, MINUGUA has produced a comprehensive set of policy recommendations and has reviewed them with senior Government officials.

The departure of MINUGUA is neither the end of the peace process nor the end of United Nations involvement in building a lasting peace in Guatemala, continues the report.  The Organization has an important role to play in supporting efforts by the Government and civil society to carry out the accords.  It is essential that United Nations agencies, funds and programmes remain guided by the accords, directing funding to priority areas still in need of attention.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will continue to coordinate those efforts and use its annual Human Development Report for Guatemala to track progress in implementing the Agreement on Socio-economic Issues and the Agrarian Situation. The OHCHR is poised to accompany Guatemalans as they continue to strengthen the rule of law and compliance with human rights.

Introduction of Report

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said every year brought new challenges and opportunities, and the past 12 months had been no exception.  “The outlook for nuclear power is evolving, with increasing attention to its benefits as an environmentally clean source of electricity, but with concerns remaining related to waste disposal, safety and security”, he said.  Nuclear applications in human health, agriculture and other fields were increasingly contributing to global sustainable development initiatives, and the Agency had redoubled its efforts to support those initiatives by improving the efficiency and extending the reach of its technical cooperation programmes.  Global cooperation in matters of safety and security had resulted in sustained improvements overall, but there was still much to be done.

In the area of verification, the Agency’s activities remained at the centre of efforts to curb nuclear proliferation.  It had continued to prove its ability to conduct objective and credible safeguards -– but the international community still faced a number of difficult challenges, and had intensified its focus on how to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  He then went on to give a detailed overview of the Agency’s work during the past year, noting at the start that 2004 was the fiftieth anniversary of civilian nuclear power.  With 439 power reactors worldwide, nuclear energy continued to account for 16 per cent of the world’s electricity production, keeping pace with the steady growth in the global electricity market.  Near-term growth in nuclear capacity remained centred in Asia and Eastern Europe due to a combination of factors, including the rise in electricity demand, the existence of a well-developed industrial infrastructure in those regions and the lack of indigenous alternatives in some countries.

Over the long term, it was clear that the need for sustained human development would require substantial investment in energy generation in the coming decades.  Given its capacity for emissions-free electricity generation, nuclear energy had strong potential as a reliable baseline energy source, he said. However, the degrees to which nuclear energy was used would be shaped by the way a given nation balanced the risks associated with a nuclear accident against other risks such as air pollution or energy dependence.  Clearly, not every country shared the view that improved economics and safety performance warranted a revival of nuclear power.  Those were matters of legitimate debate, and the IAEA would continue its efforts to provide comprehensive, accurate information and ensure that the benefits and risks of nuclear technology were clearly and fairly understood.

He went on to say that the Agency continued to encourage and stimulate technological innovation, related to power reactors, research reactors and other parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, to address concerns related to safety, proliferation and waste disposal.  Regarding the long-term management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, progress continued to be “slow, but steady”.  More than 50 countries now had spent nuclear fuel from research reactors, stored in temporary sites, awaiting disposal or reprocessing.  The IAEA had been assisting many States in developing nuclear waste management and disposal strategies and he was pleased to report renewed interest in multinational approaches to those ends. He went on to review the Agency’s scientific and technological work in areas such as food and agriculture, water resource management and human health, particularly in the area of cancer research, where it had been working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to provide training, expert missions and equipment to support national and regional cancer therapy programmes.

Detailing the Agency’s work in the area of safety and security, he said that the development and adoption of legally binding international agreements had proven to be a powerful mechanism for enhancing safety worldwide.  Since the Chernobyl accident, four safety conventions had been concluded under the IAEA’s auspices –- so-called early notification and assistance Conventions, as well as instruments on safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management -- but many States were not yet party to them, and certain key areas of the nuclear fuel cycle were still not subject to conventions.  Further, in the wake of 11 September 2001, the Agency had moved quickly to conduct a thorough review of existing programmes related to preventing acts of nuclear and radiological terrorism, and to develop a comprehensive plan for upgrading nuclear security worldwide.  Its work since that time had focused on measures to guard against thefts of nuclear and radioactive material, and to protect related facilities against malicious acts.

Next, highlighting the verification challenges the Agency had faced in the past year, which had further underscored the importance of its role in combating nuclear proliferation, as well as the urgency of providing it with all the means necessary to perform its verification responsibilities in an effective and credible manner, he stressed the importance of the Agency’s “additional protocol” in providing assurance not only that declared nuclear material had not been diverted for non-peaceful purposes, but, equally important, that no undeclared nuclear material or activities existed.  Since his last report, the number of States with additional protocols in force had increased appreciably from 30 to 60. But that broader authority was far from universal –- 133 States remained without an additional protocol in force and 24 States parties to the NPT still had not fulfilled their Article III obligation to bring into force the required comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency.  He urged all States that had not done so to conclude and bring into force the required safeguards agreements.

Turning to specific countries and regions, he said the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to pose a serious challenge to the nuclear proliferation regime.  Since December 2002, the Agency had not performed any verification in that country and could not provide any level of assurance about the non-diversion of nuclear material.  The Agency had continued to emphasize the need for a comprehensive settlement of the Korean crisis through dialogue that addressed all underlying issues, and it was his hope that the Six-party Talks would lead to such a settlement.  He said that the Agency’s verification activities in Libya this past year had confirmed that for many years, that country had pursued an undeclared nuclear programme, which aimed to enrich uranium and which included the receipt of nuclear weapons design documents.  Over many years, Libya had failed to meet many of its obligations under safeguards agreement, he added.

However, in December, Libya renounced its programmes for nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, he said, adding that it had also signed an additional protocol and had actively cooperated with the IAEA’s efforts to verify its renunciation of its former nuclear weapons programme.  The Agency’s assessment to date had been that Libya’s declarations appear to be consistent with the information it had received.  Further investigation was needed to verify the completeness and correctness of that information.  He went on to say that the Board of Governors had adopted several resolutions on Iran’s past undeclared nuclear weapons programme, and had urged that country to, among other things, cooperate fully in the verification process.  Since last February, the Agency had made steady progress in understanding the nature and extent of that programme.

Last December, Iran had signed an Additional Protocol and had been acting as if the Protocol were in force, pending its ratification.  Iran’s earlier interactions with the Agency had been regrettably marked by the provision of information that was at times changing, contradictory and slow in coming, but its cooperation had been much improved since then.  The IAEA inspectors had been provided access to requested locations, and Iran had provided information requested by the Agency –- although in some cases its response had continued to be slow.  One issue that remained central to understanding Iran’s nuclear programme was the extent and nature of its uranium enrichment activities.  As of last November, the Agency’s Board of Governors had also asked it to monitor Iran’s voluntary suspension of enrichment related and reprocessing activities.  However, Iran had reversed some of its suspension measures, and the Board had called on it to suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities as a confidence-building measure.

He said that he had continued to stress to Iran that, in light of serious international concerns surrounding its nuclear programme, it should do its utmost to build confidence through voluntary measures.  He had also asked Iran to pursue a policy of maximum transparency, so that all outstanding issues could be resolved and, over time, the required assurances could be provided to the international community.  He also said he had continued his consultations with States in the Middle East on the application of full scope safeguards to all nuclear activities in that region, and on the development of model agreements.  He regretted, nonetheless, that, once again, he had not been able to make progress on those fronts.

The General Conference had also asked him to organize a forum on the relevance of the experience of other regions with existing nuclear-weapons-free zones for establishing such a zone in the Middle East.  Based on his consultations with States, including with Israel, he intended to organize such a forum early next year, and further consultations were progressing to that end.  On Iraq, he recalled that Security Council resolution 1546 had, among other things, reaffirmed the intention of the Council to revisit the Agency’s mandate in Iraq following the cessation of verification activities in March 2003.  It was important to bring the whole question of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to closure as early as possible and for the Agency to resume the necessary verification and monitoring activities in Iraq as soon as the security situation permitted.

Statements

GILBERT LAURIN (Canada), speaking on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, introduced draft resolution A/59/L.18 on the annual report of the IAEA.  The draft resolution and the annual report, he said, together provided sufficient information to give an overall picture of the recent work of the Agency and to give a detailed account of activities in areas of specific interest.  So as to focus the attention of the Assembly on the most significant activities of the Agency, the draft resolution did not refer to resolutions adopted at the most recent General Conference related to budgetary or procedural issues.  Of the 17 resolutions adopted, only seven substantive ones were mentioned.  Additionally, the text mentions the sole decision passed by the General Conference.

The decisions and resolutions adopted at the most recent General Conference, he continued, were adopted by consensus at Vienna and were the outcome of constructive measures.  He thanked Member States for the support that the new approach had received, which resulted in a broad and solid consensus.  The consultations being held over the past week in New York had also revealed widespread support for the initiative.  Finally, he repeated an appeal to Member States not to reopen issues already negotiated and agreed upon in Vienna.

ARJAN HAMBURGER (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU) and associated States, said the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.  The EU considered a nuclear non-proliferation regime of universal character, supported by a strong system of international safeguards an essential prerequisite for collective security. Challenges to the Treaty and to the non-proliferation regime had in recent years emphasized the necessity of full compliance and the need to actively work towards universal adherence.  The universal adoption and implementation of comprehensive safeguards agreements, and additional protocols to them, were a pre-requisite to an effective and credible safeguards system.

In particular, he said, measures contained in the Additional Protocol were crucial to strengthening the IAEA’s ability to detect possible undeclared nuclear material and activities, and provide assurances about the absence of such activities.  He regretted that the number of safeguards agreements and additional protocols currently in force continued to be well below expectations.  He urged States that had yet to do so to sign and bring into force their respective safeguards agreements and additional protocols to them.

The EU attached the utmost importance to a high level of nuclear safety worldwide, he said.  Although safety was a national responsibility, international cooperation on that issue was indispensable.  Nuclear safety was a permanent concern of the international community and its continuous improvements should be the aim of the IAEA.  The fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction deserved a specific reference, as it represented a crucial challenge to the international community.  The EU member States strongly supported all appropriate measures aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons.  Today’s interdependent world called for the international community to ensure each other’s security and safety.  At the same time, the world community was under an obligation to ensure and enhance access for everyone to the benefits of nuclear knowledge, technology, equipment and materials.

CARLOS ANTONIO DA ROCHA PARANHOS (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and associated States, said his delegation supported all objectives of the international community to ensure nuclear non-proliferation, while guaranteeing the rights of all States to produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  He believed that it was essential to strengthen the effectiveness of the safeguards system, which would lead to increased transparency and promote trust.

The MERCOSUR also looked forward to a reliable and cost-effective verification system with a high level of quality and accountability.  He welcomed the work of the IAEA in that regard, and in general, and stressed that all mechanisms pertaining to nuclear energy and power must be in line with preserving multilateral international norms.  He added that the MECOSUR common system of accountability and control applied in Brazil had continued to establish parameters of cooperation between both Argentina and Brazil.

HU XIAODI (China) said that his nation had enjoyed extensive cooperation with the IAEA and other MembersStates regarding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  As of 2003, China had dispatched more than 2,000 people to other States for training and scientific visits, and had received services through the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme.  Throughout the years, China had made voluntary contributions of $13 million to the Agency, in addition to other contributions. Through participation in the Technical Cooperation Programme, China had not only made progress in the development of nuclear power at home, but had also made due contributions to peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the region.

He strongly supported the Agency’s work in the field of nuclear non-proliferation.  In 2002, China was among the first five nuclear-weapon States to ratify the Additional Protocol to the safeguards agreements.  In March 2004, China made a political commitment to the Code of Conduct for Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources.  Since then, it had implemented its commitment through the promulgation of relevant laws and regulations, thus establishing a national regulatory system.

He said the Korean peninsula should be denuclearised, adding that the nuclear issue in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should be resolved peacefully through dialogue.  However, while addressing the nuclear issue, the legitimate security concerns of that country should also be addressed.  As such, China had been working hard to promote peace and facilitate talks.  So far, it had hosted three rounds of the Six-Party Talks.  Currently, the Talks had entered the stage for substantive negotiations, and it was fair to say that they had achieved positive results.  It was in the interest of all the parties, and also the common wish of the international community, to continue those Talks.

China, he added, stood for an appropriate resolution to Iran’s nuclear issue within the framework of the IAEA and through dialogue.  He hoped Iran would continue its comprehensive cooperation with the Agency, so as to clarify all outstanding issues, and ratify the Additional Protocol as soon as possible.  All parties should encourage Iran to continue to adopt measures conducive to enhancing and clarifying doubts.

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) praised the work of the IAEA in today’s increasingly complex and challenging international environment.  He agreed that expanding global socio-economic development needs would require more energy in the coming decades.  That would require even more international support for the Agency and its mission.  A large part of the coming growth would be concentrated in the East Asian region, he said, stressing that the pace of construction of reactors would proceed apace if States were not subjected to undo restrictions.  In that regard, the IAEA’s role in areas of technical cooperation and in the transfer of technology to developing countries would be irreplaceable.

Turning to the situation in his country, he said that in view of Pakistan’s limited fossil fuel sources, it considered nuclear power generation indispensable to its national power strategy.  Pakistan had an outstanding safety and security record with its two existing power plants, and the existence of a reliable infrastructure had led to the development of a third power plant.  Once that plant was up and running, Pakistan would use some of the energy it produced in areas such as desalination.  He went on to praise the Agency’s work in agriculture and human health, particularly cancer treatment.  The Agency’s capacities in those areas would need to be enhanced so that it could continue to undertake its important technical and research-oriented work, which could immensely reduce hunger, disease and poverty in the world.

He said that Pakistan was actively involved in the international effort to develop innovative and cost-effective reactors towards the development of safe and nuclear efficient power plants in the future.  Pakistan was also concerned about safety and security and had successfully established a strong safety culture in line with the various nuclear safety conventions.  It had also placed zones of safety around its nuclear plants to prevent any possibility of sabotage or trafficking in nuclear materials.  On the regional and global scene, Pakistan was taking effective steps to eliminate an underground proliferation network that had tentacles in a dozen countries.

He said it was essential that all States comply with the Agency’s international safeguards, but at the same time, the safeguards must not be used to serve partisan political concerns.  The IAEA was not an investigative agency and should not be asked to undertake duties beyond its scope.  The IAEA must remain impartial and any reform of the Agency must not undermine the balance of promotional concerns and safety and security.  Overall reform of the Agency should, among other things, aim to prevent politicisation of its agenda, and ensure the allocation of larger and more steady resources for technical cooperation and training facilities in developing countries, and increased outsourcing for developing States for its technical cooperation programmes.

DINA MARTINA (Ukraine) said that security and proliferation challenges could only be met successfully by multilateral cooperation.  She considered the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as an important global instrument to that end.  A strategy to counter nuclear terrorism should cover all types of risks, including the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons, and various kinds of nuclear explosives produced from either nuclear or radioactive material.  All possible measures had to be taken to provide proper protection against malicious acts on facilities, as well as to safeguard the transport of nuclear or radioactive materials.  In that context, Ukraine supported urgent measures to strengthen multilateral control over nuclear fuel cycle and to improve the safety and physical protection of nuclear material and facilities.

Ukraine strongly supported the IAEA’s activities to reinforce national programmes to identify, secure, recover and facilitate the disposition of vulnerable, nuclear and other high-risk radioactive materials.  He considered the implementation of the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme as the cornerstone of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  The Agency’s activities in the field of nuclear sciences and applications in the non-power sector contributed significantly to sustainable development.  She noted the importance of placing further emphasis on the technical cooperation programme in Europe concerning issues of safety and security, radiation and transport safety, management of radioactive waste, national health programmes, environmental issues, and problems related to the decommissioning of nuclear power plants or their life extension, which remained priorities for her country.

K. DEVAMANY (Malaysia) said his nation continued to recognize the value of nuclear technology for the advancement of sustainable development and the process of nation-building.  He reaffirmed support for the IAEA in its mission to promote and facilitate the development of nuclear technology for peaceful uses.  The success of the Technical Cooperation Programme would be determined by the sustained availability of financial resources.  As a country that had long participated in the benefits of the Programme, Malaysia had consistently fulfilled, in full and on time, its financial obligations to the Agency.  However, he was concerned over the shortfall in the current level of payments received in 2004 for the Technical Cooperation Fund, and urged MemberStates to disburse their target share, in full and on time.

Turning to nuclear terrorism, he said it posed a serious threat to international peace and security.  Collective efforts were necessary to prevent terrorist and non-State actors from acquiring nuclear weapons and using them to achieve their objectives.  Malaysia supported the verification activities of the Agency to ensure that peaceful nuclear technology was not transformed to fulfil military purposes.  The continued existence of nuclear weapons posed a threat to the survival of humanity and their use would have catastrophic consequences for civilization.  As a result, his nation was committed to pursuing the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Malaysia, like other members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), attached great importance to the effectiveness and strengthening of the safeguards systems, as well as the maintenance of an appropriate balance between the Agency’s verification and other statutory functions.  Recognizing that consensus was elusive on the question of compatibility of decisions relating to safeguards with the relevant provisions of the Agency’s Statute, he took serious note of the statement by the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the sponsors of the draft resolution, that he explicitly recognized the importance of all the provisions of the Statue in that regard.  However, that pronouncement fell short of the expectation of the NAM over the more definitive importance of the relevant treaties and concluded safeguards agreements.

AMR ABOUL ATTA (Egypt) said that the report highlighted the contributions of the IAEA in 2003 in the major fields of its activities, as well as the future challenges it must be prepared to tackle.  He stressed the important role of the Agency in protecting the non-proliferation regime, as it was the main body having the credibility to implement specific commitments relating to nuclear energy.  The IAEA was making concrete efforts regarding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and Egypt expected it would be the crucible of many ideas and proposals on bolstering the non-proliferation regime, particularly if agreement was reached on ideas at the 2005 conference.  The increasing role of the Agency in supporting and spreading peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as technical cooperation with developing States, was no less important, as witnessed by the vast increase in the membership of the Agency from developing countries.

Egypt was fully prepared to continue cooperating with the Agency in programmes, he continued, stressing that shortcomings in the universality of the safeguards of the Agency would not allow such safeguards to bear fruit because of the threat of nuclear proliferation.  He thus found it very important for work to continue toward universality, and said that Egypt had put forward many initiatives to deal with the threat of nuclear proliferation.  In the Middle East region, Egypt continued to call for the application of comprehensive safeguards.  He noted that Israel had shown no desire to engage positively to progress to tackle nuclear non-proliferation issues in general.  The forum that the Director General was to hold early next year was an encouraging first step to tackle some of the issues relating to a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

Turning to nuclear safety, he said that the events of “9/11” had shown that there was an urgent need to bolster the efforts of the Agency to protect nuclear materials and installations from the threat of international terrorism.  As long as nuclear material was not subjected to any international supervision, it would fall into the hands of terrorists.  Egypt looked forward to future efforts and measures to be proposed in that regard.

RAO INDERJIT SINGH (India) said that, given the huge demand for energy in a fast-developing economy like India’s, it had been his nation’s endeavour to develop comprehensive capabilities in the entire range of the nuclear fuel cycle, backed up by research and development, industrial and safety infrastructure. Today, India was among the leading group of nations, which could reutilise spent fuel for the production of power, which was essential to ensure sustained availability of nuclear power.  India had made significant strides in developing new technologies through indigenous research and development.

India was a responsible nuclear power, he said.  It had developed its capability in that area in a self-reliant manner and was fully conscious of the immense responsibilities that came with the possession of such advance capabilities.  It remained committed to the objectives of non-proliferation.  On the other hand, efforts to prevent proliferation should not impose undue restrictions on the development and utilization of nuclear energy.  India’s nuclear energy programme was operated under the highest safety and environmental standards, he said, adding that safety operations were in place through the entire nuclear fuel cycle, from prospecting and mining of ores to the management of waste.

The role of the IAEA in promoting several developmental programmes for the betterment of humankind, by using nuclear technologies, was unique and must be encouraged and expanded.  The Agency should, however, continue to operate within its technical expertise in a transparent manner.  It should not be used for political ends or objectives beyond its original purpose, which was to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.  India, he added, had been an active supporter of IAEA programmes related to nuclear power.

T.A. SAMODRA SRIWIDJAJA (Indonesia) said Indonesia had been committed to the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy through the development and strengthening of links and cooperation, both at bilateral and multilateral levels, especially with the IAEA.  Through the support provided by its technical assistance programme, the country had successfully applied nuclear technology in many areas of national development programmes, including agriculture, industry, health care and environmental protection.  He called upon all States having made non-proliferation commitments –- in particular those with significant nuclear activities –- to bring into force and implement the legal instruments of the strengthened safeguards system.  He believed that States, particularly developing countries having the additional protocols in place, in their pursuit of the development, production, and application of nuclear energy and knowledge for peaceful purposes, should be granted preferential treatment in obtaining technical cooperation for the advancement of their national development.

In the field of nuclear security and safety, he commended the Agency’s efforts to assist countries in increasing their nuclear security and the Agency’s high priority for formulating measures to prevent the theft of nuclear material and the sabotage of nuclear facilities.  The Agency’s concern over the risk of radiological terrorism had given increased emphasis to improving the security of other radioactive material and to countering illicit trafficking.  He expressed his country’s gratitude to the Agency for having dispatched expert missions to Indonesia aimed at strengthening the physical protection of its nuclear and radiological infrastructure.  Such technical assistance provided by the Agency was central to improving the existing rules and regulations for nuclear safety and radiation protection, as well as the enhancement of human resources capabilities.

RODNEY LOPEZ CLEMENTE (Cuba) said his Government had been taking positive steps to comply with all international instruments it had signed on nuclear non-proliferation, internationally as well as within the region, towards the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  Cuba was indeed committed to the Agency’s work to that end and stood by its belief that military doctrines based on the possession of military weaponry was unacceptable.  Cuba continued to believe in the need for the total elimination of all nuclear weapons, under strict international supervision and verification, particularly on disposal guidelines.

In addition, Cuba reiterated its rejection of the horizontal proliferation approach.  There was a need to ensure technical cooperation in the areas of verification and technology transfer.  Cuba believed that a balance must exist between the Agency’s cooperation activities and those devoted to its other objectives.  In that regard, Cuba applauded the work the IAEA had accomplished in the areas of human health, agriculture and industry, particularly its important contributions to global efforts to combat cancer.  Cuba had benefited from many of the Agency’s initiatives and, despite the enormous restraints caused by the economic blockade imposed against it, had been able to uphold its obligations under IAEA guidelines.

SHINICHI KITAOKA (Japan) said that, at present, the international nuclear non-proliferation regime was facing serious challenges, and that strengthening the regime was one of the most important tasks requiring action on the part of the international community.  At the same time, nuclear energy remained an important source of energy, which contributed to the stability of the energy supply and the prevention of global warming.  The peaceful applications of nuclear energy, which extended to such fields as human health, agriculture and industry, were extremely beneficial to the economic and social development of the international community. For that reason, he said, the dual role of the IAEA in promoting both the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the peaceful use of nuclear energy had taken on increasingly greater importance.

Strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime, he continued, was one of Japan’s top foreign policy priorities.  For the purpose of achieving substantive reinforcement of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the strengthening of the IAEA safeguards would be key.  The nuclear programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea posed a threat to the peace and stability of North-east Asia and was a major challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.  Japan strongly requested that country to comply with all international agreements pertaining to nuclear issues.  He added that the Government of Iran should sincerely implement all requirements of the relevant IAEA resolutions.  Japan also highly appreciated Libya’s decision to abandon its nuclear programme and all other weapons of mass destruction programmes and move forward in cooperation with the international community.

KONSTANTIN K. DOLGOV (Russian Federation) said his nation was an active member of the IAEA and took note of its important role.  He reaffirmed the need to strengthen the safeguards system and enhance its effectiveness in the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  Noting that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, his country advocated international partnerships to prevent that from happening and was working in the area of non-proliferation.  He reiterated the importance of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to insure security, while adding that the outcome of the recent conference did not inspire confidence.  He said it was important to improve its effectiveness, and advocated strategic stability.

The Russian Federation continued to support the agreement between his nation and the United States to use highly enriched uranium developed for nuclear weapons, he said.  That project was a practical step to the development of nuclear technologies that were resistant to proliferation.  In keeping with his Government’s objectives, work was going on in the area of fast nuclear reactors.  He hoped that Iran would continue to work with the IAEA, and that by the November meeting it would be possible to clarify questions regarding Tehran.  With regard to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, his nation supported efforts for the resumption of the Six-Party talks and called for the denuclearisation of the KoreanPeninsula.  Lastly, he expressed support for the draft resolution before the General Assembly and in view of the important work of the Agency.

FIDELINO DE FIGUEIREDO (Angola) said the tsetse flies, and the tripanosomosis disease which they transmitted, were a major transnational African problem and one of the greatest constraints to the African continents socio-economic development.  That disease claimed ten of thousands of lives and millions of livestock every year.  Therefore, he encouraged the Agency to continue supporting African States in their efforts to use the Sterile Insect Technique for the creation of the tsetse-freezones in Africa.  With regard to malaria, the development of the Sterile Insect Technique for the control and eradication of mosquitoes was crucial. He said the Agency should intensify research with a view to enabling the use of the Sterile Insect Technique for the control and eradication of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.  The use of existing nuclear technology for diagnosis and treatment could cure many cases of cancer, if detected early.  Unfortunately, appropriate technologies, including cobalt radiotherapy, were not available for most cancer patients in developing nations.

Angola had been admitted in 1999 as a member of the IAEA and since then had benefited from the assistance provided by the Agency under the Technical Cooperation Programme, he said.  At present, four ongoing national projects in the areas of nuclear physics, diagnosis of animal diseases, radiotherapy and marine pollution were ongoing.  Angola had also been participating in several regional projects.  However, it was important to stress that Angola could only maximize the benefits from that assistance if it included the training of well-educated nationals in nuclear science and techniques.  Africa attached great importance to the Agency’s activities related to the maintenance of international peace and security.  His nation expected that all the NPT States Parties respect the statutory mandate of the Agency to verify compliance with the Treaty.

MEHDI DANESH-YAZDI (Iran) said that the provisions of the NPT and the IAEA Statute on the right to nuclear technology, as well as the imperative of cooperation and sharing of technology among those who had accepted the obligations of non-proliferation, testified to the wisdom of the drafters of those two important documents.  Membership in the NPT and the IAEA safeguards regime, however, should not impede the peaceful use of nuclear technology, while non-membership was rewarded by acquiescence, “as in the case of development of one of the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons located in the Middle East”.  If anything, failure to accept the NPT and its safeguards obligations should have made the only outsider to the NPT in the Middle East the subject of the most severe restrictions and not have provided it with impunity.

He said that the inalienable right of the NPT parties to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes should not, under any circumstances, be restricted.  Accordingly, national efforts to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, with a view to fostering economic development, should not be hampered by “ulterior outside political considerations”.  No consideration beyond the Treaty’s requirements should preclude the implementation of the rights and obligations of the parties derived from the Treaty.  Iran, as an original State party to the NPT, was committed to its obligations under the Treaty, and at the same time, was determined to pursue its inalienable rights to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, as enshrined in the Treaty’s Article IV.

Iran’s decision and determination for nuclear electricity generation was based on well-justified technical and financial grounds, he explained.  The added value of the limited fossil resources, the utilization of those resources in other industries, the concern over environmental pollution, as well as the necessity of benefiting from various energy options, had convinced his Government to decide on the application of nuclear energy for electricity generation with a total capacity of 7,000 megawatts by 2020.  Towards that goal, Iran had invested extensive human and material resources.  As repeatedly stated previously, however, “nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s defence doctrine”, not only because of its religious convictions and obligations under the NPT and other relevant conventions, but because of a “sober strategic calculation”.

Under such circumstances, he said that a mere clarification of intentions and security doctrine might not suffice to convince all partners.  To remedy that situation, Iran had taken significant steps to further enhance confidence by, in particular, signing and implementing the Additional Protocol to the IAEA Safeguards Agreement in December 2003, and maintaining a voluntary suspension of its enrichment activities since last November.  Iran was also currently engaged in negotiations with France, Germany and the United Kingdom to reach mutual objective assurance on nuclear cooperation, transparency and non-diversion.  Those negotiations would bear fruit if mutual understanding, political will and good faith prevailed.

He said that the recent reports of the IAEA provided a clear indication that “major and decisive” steps had been taken by both the Agency and Iran towards resolving the outstanding questions.  The present verification activities were an important achievement for both Iran and the IAEA.  The lack of identified or known criteria or timelines, on the basis of which Iran could organize itself for robust inspections, had required Iran to provide information or to grant access primarily after requests were made by the Agency -- in particular, when a certain State, based on its “already proved failed intelligence”, occasionally raised concern over irrelevant sites, which always proved to be a wrong concern.  In the spirit of cooperation, and as confirmed by the Agency’s report, however, action had been taken to satisfy the Agency’s requests in the fullest and speediest manner possible.  More than 800 “person-days” of inspections had been carried out in Iran since February 2003, amounting to “one of the most robust and intrusive verifications in the history of the Agency”.

On the basis of the Agency’s recent reports, he said that one could briefly conclude that:  there had been no evidence of diversion of the Iranian nuclear programme; the Agency was making steady progress in understanding the nature and extent of Iran’s nuclear programme; Iran was acting as if it had ratified the Additional Protocol and had submitted more than 1,030 pages of initial declaration pursuant to the Protocol; some previously outstanding issues had reached the point where further follow-up would be carried out as part of routine safeguards implementation; and based on the Agency’s analysis to date, it appeared “plausible that the contamination found at various locations in Iraq have not resulted from enrichment of uranium by Iran”.  Those facts and conclusions provided a clear picture of Iran’s nuclear programme and removed concerns and ambiguities shadowing its peaceful nature.

NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) said his country was highly appreciative of the support it had received from the IAEA throughout the year, through its Technical Cooperation Programme.  Ghana had continued to strengthen its institutional and human resource capabilities in the application of nuclear technologies to address problems of health, agriculture, industry and the environment through relevant national and regional projects.  During 2003, the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission had continued to make more efficient use of the Agency’s programmes for nuclear science and technology research and their applications to the socio-economic development of the country.

Regarding the peaceful applications of nuclear technologies for the sustainable development of Ghana, he reaffirmed that the country would continue its efforts to ensure that radioactive sources were safe and secure, explaining that stringent measures were being taken at the national level to enhance the physical protection of all facilities which housed ionizing radiation sources and nuclear materials against sabotage, theft and illicit trafficking.  He expressed the concern shared by the international community on the need for nuclear safety and security and recognized the importance of action taken so far to address the issue.  Also, malaria was a major concern for Ghana’s people, as it was responsible for a significant percentage of mortality in the country, he noted.

Continuing, he stressed that nuclear security was a precondition for nuclear cooperation and trade.  However, it was no secret that there were many countries which lacked the necessary expertise for devising and ensuring a state system of nuclear security.  He said verification challenges were constantly evolving and the fact that potential proliferators constantly sought access to new technologies required that the IAEA continuously update its knowledge and detection capabilities.  In that connection, he appealed to both the Agency and MemberStates that possessed the requisite capabilities to assist developing countries, to close that security gap.  The NPT regime had been and continued to be the key element in the maintenance of international peace and security.  As the cornerstone of the international community’s efforts to secure complete nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, all nations must cooperate fully to ensure that Treaty’s effectiveness and sustainability.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, KIM CHANG GUK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said his country was not a member of the IAEA nor was it a member of the NPT.  It did not belong to the IAEA because that body had abandoned its mandate and had become the exclusive tool of the superpowers.  His country had withdrawn from the NPT to better take care of its own nuclear interests.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had no relations with the IAEA and rejected its use as an example in that body’s report or in the draft resolution before the Assembly.  Both documents were attempting to mislead the international community on the nuclear situation on the KoreanPeninsula. Meanwhile, Japan was crying about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea being a threat to international peace and security.  But had the nuclear weapons on the JapaneseIslands, provided by the United States and targeted at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, been placed there in the service of peace and security?

Charges that his country’s actions challenged the international non-proliferation regime amounted to “putting the cart before the horse”, he said.  Such charges failed to address the heart of the matter:  his country’s actions were a direct outcome of the United States’ hostile policies towards it.  If the United States had not brought nuclear weapons onto the Peninsula, had not targeted the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and had not threatened strikes against it, the issue would never have come up.  Nor would the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have withdrawn from the NPT, he added.

The recent exposure of South Korea’s nuclear experiments had likewise exposed the hypocrisy of the IAEA and those other countries feigning concern about the nuclear situation on the Peninsula, he said.  They must all shake off prejudice, look squarely at the situation and demand that the United States give up its hostile polices.  The United States’ allegation of a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea uranium enrichment programme was typical of that country’s self-righteous, unilateralist bellicosity, as well as its tendency to believe the false adage that if one repeated the same lies over and over, they would eventually become the truth.

Since the war in Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was keeping high vigilance towards just that sort of mentality, he said.  The United States hostility towards Iraq had taught his country a grave lesson.  The United States had trumped up charges of hidden weapons in Iraq, even in the face of a decade of weapons inspections.  It had clung to that belief and invented the threat of weapons of mass destruction to justify its war.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea meanwhile awaited word that the United States had finally dropped its hostile policies towards it.  He continued to believe in the ultimate goal of de-nuclearization of the KoreanPeninsula.  It would vote against the draft today because the text was not intended to contribute to resolving the nuclear issue in his country and region.

Statements on Central America

Mr. HAMBURGER (Netherlands), on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the evaluation in the Secretary-General’s report came at a critical juncture for Guatemala.  The United Nations Mission there (MINUGUA) would close after 10 years, a period in which its presence had been essential to the implementation of the accords.  The MINUGUA’s departure, therefore, would mark the beginning of a new and necessary phase of the peace process.  It would now fall completely on the national actors to assume responsibility for the unequivocal implementation of the peace accords and to ensure adequate funding.  Over the past two years, the Mission had already phased down its operations and carried out a transition strategy designed to build national capacity.  The efforts were directed, not only at key State institutions, such as the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, but also at civil society organizations likely to remain engaged in peace-building.  The strategy also sought to guarantee adequate follow-up on priorities of the peace accords by the United Nations system in Guatemala.

In that light, he said that the European Union would be in favour of a further United Nations presence to strengthen the Government in its efforts to improve the human rights situation.  In that respect, the establishment of an office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights would make an important contribution.  The impunity and threats to human rights activists by clandestine and illegal groups also needed special attention.  As stipulated in the report, MINUGUA used the final period to reinforce the peace agenda with the new authorities who took office in January 2004.  The Mission produced a comprehensive set of policy recommendations and reviewed them with senior Government officials, governors, mayors, legislators, justice officials and leaders in civil society.  During his visit to Guatemala in May, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, underscored to those actors that the peace accords should remain Guatemala’s basic blueprint for development.  The Union would add its voice to that message.

ANDREA GARCÍA GUERRA (Mexico) said her nation was a friend and neighbour of Guatemala and had participated in reconciliation efforts in Central America. Mexico was closely following the work of MINUGUA throughout the past 10 years.  As long as political forces felt that the Mission was useful, Mexico had supported extending its mandate.  The Mission had made contributions to help Guatemala undertake its commitments, yet it had to end at some point to yield to a phase where the national stakeholders would ensure peace.  Guatemala would continue to enjoy the backing of the United Nations along with Mexico’s backing.  In such times of change, the re-launch of peace agreements less than a year ago was of great significance.  Great strides had been made in Guatemala, with the help of the Mission.  There had been an end to armed confrontation and human rights violations, as well as the reintegration of civil combatants and a decrease in the number of the military.  Civil control over the armed forces had also been strengthened.

Significant legislative reforms had taken place in the area of decentralization to strengthening human rights, she said.  Guatemala had a democratic system and a mature civil society alert to the peace agreements.  It was essential that a democratic and fair society, including compensation to those who had suffered from human rights violations, and the consolidation of the rule of law.  In addition, there was a need for greater progress to ensure the rights of indigenous people and to institute tax reform.  Some of those challenges were akin to those in other Central American nations, including her own.  Because of historical and cultural ties with Guatemala, Mexico felt that there was potential for cooperation post-MINUGUA, apart from existing cooperation.  One of the priorities was to press ahead with Guatemala becoming a party to instruments to support human rights, and to support the opening of an office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Mexico would share its own experience with that presence.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (Guatemala) said that the peace agreements continued to be a work in progress, involving substantial advances and some limitations.  He did not believe now was the time to apportion blame for the overall situation his country faced.  He concurred with the report that the foundations for a promising future had been laid and that the democratic framework had been consolidated.  Despite the weakness of certain institutions necessary for the maintenance of the rule of law, the country had made substantial progress in promoting human rights and building a more inclusive and tolerant society.  As there were still overwhelming challenges ahead, the Government was committed to strengthening the national institutions that were preparing to take over the functions the Mission performed, as well as to reinforcing the National Civil Police and the national prison system.

In that spirit, he went on, Guatemala was supportive of an up-grading of the in-country office of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the association established with the United Nations for the purpose of fighting organized crime, through a commission for the investigation of illegal groups and clandestine security organizations in the country.  He had no doubt the international community, and particularly the countries that formed the “Group of Friends”, would continue to lend their support to ensuring that the work to strengthen the rule of law institutions was pursued.

GUSTAVO DAJER (Colombia) said this year marked the wrap-up of MINUGUA’s work after a decade of operation.  It marked the end of the verification phase and the ushering in of a new phase, where Guatemala would be taking over the work. Colombia was confident the Guatemalan Government was prepared to take on those duties.  The situation was different today from what it had been 10 years ago, and the groundwork had been laid to move forward apace towards the consolidation of the country’s peace, security and overall reconciliation.

ALLAN ROCK (Canada) said that MINUGUA was an excellent example of the important contribution that international peacekeeping missions could make in the consolidation of peace in a country affected by conflict.  The Mission played an important role in strengthening human rights in Guatemala, and Canada was proud to have supported it over the course of its mandate, both financially and through the participation of Canadian police officers and military personnel.  The Mission’s departure was a positive signal of the progress made in Guatemala since the signing of the peace accords in 1996.  There was no question that Guatemala today was a very different country; significant progress had been made in strengthening democracy and addressing social inequity.  Significant challenges remained, however, to ensure full respect for human rights, equity, and improved security and access to justice for all Guatemalans.

In that context, he welcomed the Government’s continued commitment to the establishment of a commission to investigate illegal clandestine groups.  The commission’s creation was important and necessary, not only for the safety and security of Guatemalan citizens, but also for the success of democratic institutions in the country.  All Guatemalans should work together, not just to create the commission, but to create one with a strong mandate and operational capacity needed to create a corruption-free culture in support of democratic development.  He also encouraged the Government to work with the United Nations on the early establishment of an Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Guatemala.  Through its support for national institutions working in that area, such an office would be an important step in consolidating the significant human rights advances.

JOHAN L. LØVALD (Norway) said that while many years had passed since the armed conflicts in Central America ended, the region was still facing a number of major challenges:  the eradication of poverty, the consolidation of democracy and the safeguarding of human rights.  Good governance, sustainable economic development and strengthening of the judicial systems continued to be key issues. But it had been encouraging to see that the governments of the region were continuing, and even stepping up, their fight against corruption.  Peaceful and transparent elections were now the rule rather than the exception in Central America.

With the withdrawal of MINUGUA this December, he said, the United Nations was closing the book on one of its most successful peace-building missions after 10 years.  He commended both the Mission and the Organization on that contribution, and he felt confident that Guatemala was now in a good position to consolidate the peace process by implementing the peace accords.  Indeed, he had no doubt that the accords would continue to serve as a road map and a national agenda for further development.  However, new commitments and objectives were now on the national agenda, such as the Millennium Development Goals.  There was still a great need for the international community to continue supporting the implementation of the peace accords.  Guatemala was still a developing nation in a post-conflict situation.  It was important that there be adequate mechanisms in place for follow-up after December, in particular in the areas of justice and human rights.

Action on IAEA Draft

The draft resolution, contained in A/59/L.18, was adopted by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) with no abstentions.

Right of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Japan said that the allegation by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, that there were weapons provided by the United States in the Japanese islands pointed at his country, was totally untrue.  Japan was party to relevant international non-proliferation treaties and was fully committed to implementation.  Japan did not retain nuclear weapons, did not manufacture nuclear weapons nor allow them to enter Japanese territory.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said his delegation resented the characterization by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of the nuclear experiments that had been conducted by some nuclear scientists in the South.  As the Republic of Korea had made clear, those had been isolated experiments, which had been conducted at a research facility for research purposes.  They had nothing to do with a nuclear weapons programme.  Further, the Republic of Korea did not have any enrichment or processing facilities, nor a clandestine nuclear weapons programme, despite what the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative had said.  Scientific research for peaceful uses of nuclear material was a fundamental right to which all members of the NPT could avail themselves. Nevertheless, his Government had disclosed the tests to the IAEA. It was also cooperating to rectify any past reporting lapses.  The only way forward for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was to accept the highest safeguards standards.  That way, many of the international community’s concerns would be alleviated.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that the Japanese representative had tried to cover that country’s ulterior intentions.  Japan had allowed the United States’ nuclear weapons to come through Japanese ports and allowed its military bases to target his nation.  The Japanese representative could not cover those realities.  Japan had done secret experiments.  And he knew that South Korea had tried to develop nuclear weapons. How could his nation trust Japan’s commitment to the international community?

The representative of the Republic of Korea said he did not want to enter into a prolonged debate on nuclear issues.  He found it absurd that the biggest proliferator was abusing the session to present a distorted allegation about his nation’s nuclear research abilities.  North Korea had to dismantle its programme and accept the safeguards standards set out by the Additional Protocol before it could criticize other nation’s peaceful nuclear activities.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his nation’s nuclear programme had been well known by the world, and his nation was now trying to solve the issue with the United States because the programme was in response to the nuclear threat posed by the United States.  As for the South Korean nuclear programme, it was unknown how dangerous it was; his was known.

The representative of Japan reiterated his earlier intervention.

ANNEX

Vote on Report of the IAEA

The draft resolution on the report of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (document A/59/L.18) was adopted by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia.

Against:  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Abstaining:  None.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Dominica, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

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For information media. Not an official record.