‘We Must Let Diplomacy and Thorough Verification Take Their Course’, No Matter How Lengthy, Tiresome Process Might Be, International Atomic Energy Chief Says

2 November 2009
GA/10880

‘We Must Let Diplomacy and Thorough Verification Take Their Course’, No Matter How Lengthy, Tiresome Process Might Be, International Atomic Energy Chief Says

2 November 2009
General Assembly
GA/10880
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Plenary

33rd & 34th Meetings (AM & PM)

‘We Must Let Diplomacy and Thorough Verification Take Their Course’, No Matter How

Lengthy, Tiresome Process Might Be, International Atomic Energy Chief Says

In Final General Assembly Speech, Director-General ElBaradei Revisits

Successes, Regrets; Assembly Also Adopts Text on International Criminal Court

Amid calls for a new collective security system in which no country felt the need to rely on nuclear weapons, General Assembly delegates today adopted a consensus resolution reaffirming their strong support for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in encouraging the practical application of nuclear energy for peaceful uses.

By the text, delegates took note of various resolutions adopted over the past year by the Agency’s General Conference, including on the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) safeguards agreement between the Agency and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the application of Agency safeguards in the Middle East; and Israeli nuclear capabilities.  They also expressed appreciation for Director General Mohamed ElBaradei’s 12 years of distinguished service and extended best wishes to Yukiya Amano, the incoming Director General.

In his final address to the Assembly, Mr. ElBaradei said he was proud of the Agency’s many achievements, notably the way the Vienna-based body had implemented its safeguards regime in step with radical changes in the global non-proliferation landscape over the last two decades.  The IAEA had moved beyond simply verifying declared nuclear material at declared facilities, to assessing information on a State’s entire nuclear programme and ‑‑ most importantly ‑‑ verifying the absence of undeclared activities.

However, the Agency’s ability to detect clandestine nuclear material and activities depended on the extent to which it was given the legal authority, technology and resources, he said.  Regrettably, it faced major shortcomings in all three areas, which, if not addressed, could put the entire non-proliferation regime at risk.

“We must let diplomacy and thorough verification take their course ‑‑ however lengthy and tiresome the process may be,” he said.  Such lessons were applicable in the case of Iran, which had been reported to the Agency’s Board of Governors six years ago for failing to declare material and activities, in violation of its Safeguards Agreement.  Iran had to clarify questions about the nature of its civil nuclear programme and be forthcoming in response to his recent proposal to build trust.

Likewise, he said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in 16 years, had moved from a case of likely possession of undeclared plutonium to acquisition of nuclear weapons.  Its intermittent dialogue with the global community had stymied resolution of that issue.  As for Iraq, he would always lament that a tragic war had been launched on a “false pretext”, without Security Council authorization or any evidence found ‑‑ by the Agency or the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) ‑‑ of a revived nuclear weapons programme.  “It gives me no consolation that the Agency’s findings were subsequently vindicated,” he said.

Ultimately, the world needed a new collective security system that ensured security was not perceived as a zero-sum game, he explained.  That system should include effective mechanisms for conflict prevention and peacekeeping, and place human solidarity at its core, he said.

In the debate that followed, the delegate of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking before action on the text, regretted that the Agency had once again taken an unfair position by urging his country to implement Security Council resolutions and return to talks without preconditions.  His Government categorically rejected such behaviour, which intentionally ignored the nature of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.

While denuclearization efforts had been based on the principle of sovereign equality, the United States’ hostile acts had led to a breakdown in dialogue and pushed his Government to undertake countermeasures, including a second nuclear test.  The United States had pushed the situation to “the brink of war” by staging “nuclear war exercises”, with his country as the target.  The Agency’s indifference to such events, and calling into question his Government’s sovereign right could, in no way, be justified.  He urged it to observe the principle of impartiality.

Similarly, Iran’s delegate was gravely concerned that certain nuclear-weapon States and their allies ‑‑ under the pretext of non-proliferation ‑‑ had restricted the transfer of nuclear material, equipment and technology to developing countries.  While they were obliged to cooperate in those areas, they had imposed new restrictions under the excuse of export controls, nuclear security, nuclear terrorism and multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle.

Further, their cooperation with the Zionist regime showed their non-compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said.  The only non-Party to the Treaty in the Middle East, that regime’s clandestine nuclear weapon programme was being carried out in unsafeguarded secret facilities, the most serious threat to the region.  Iran, as a Party to the Treaty, considered the development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes an inalienable right.

Speaking after action, Israel’s delegate said that regional States attending the Agency’s General Conference had failed to show the necessary willingness to promote regional talks on the creation of a nuclear-weapons-free zone, as evidenced by the adoption of a one-sided resolution on so-called “Israeli Nuclear Capabilities”, which sought to divert attention from blatant cases of non-compliance with the NPT by several Middle Eastern States.  Israel had exerted every effort to regain consensus on a Middle East Package and hoped that the circumstances which cast a dark shadow over the event would not be repeated.

For its part, the Russian Federation supported multilateral approaches to the creation of nuclear fuel cycle services, which offered an economically feasible alternative to the creation of those elements at the national level, that country’s representative said.  The International Uranium Enrichment Centre, created in 2007, guaranteed deliveries of nuclear fuel upon request from the Agency, but could also address the issue of guaranteed access to services in the nuclear fuel cycle.

He said his Government would continue to work on creating a guaranteed reserve of low-enriched uranium in a volume of two full reactor core fuelling loads of one thousand megawatt installed capacity, under an arrangement with the Agency.  At the same time, he stressed that the right to receive such uranium did not require renouncing the rights to create one’s proper fuel cycle.

In other business today, the Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution on the Report of the International Criminal Court, introduced by the delegate of the Netherlands, which he said served three main objectives:  to provide political support for the Court’s work; to underline the importance of the relations between the Court and the United Nations; and to show the need for the international community to work with the Court.

The Assembly also started discussion on the follow-up to the commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.  The representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis introduced a draft resolution on that topic, on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which recognized the annual remembrance, as well as the initiative to erect a permanent memorial to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.  The Assembly deferred action on that resolution to a later date.

Also speaking today on the IAEA report were the representatives of Malaysia, Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Egypt, Belarus, Cuba, Indonesia, Sudan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Switzerland, South Africa, Kuwait, Japan, Singapore, Ukraine, Ethiopia, China, Pakistan, United States, Venezuela and Libya.

The General Assembly President delivered remarks on the follow-up to the commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

Also speaking on the trans-Atlantic slave trade were the representatives of Zambia (on behalf of the African Group), Belarus, Jamaica, Brazil, Cuba, United States and India.

Speaking after action on the resolution on the Report of the International Criminal Court (document A/64/L.9) were the representatives of United States and Libya.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 3 November to elect members of the Committee for Programme Coordination, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  In addition, the Assembly is to appoint members of the Committee on Conferences and of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU).

Background

The General Assembly met today to take up the fifty-third report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (document GC(53)/7), which describes the Agency’s 2008 work under the three pillars of its mandate to monitor the technology, safety and security, and verification of nuclear use among nations.

The report reviews “nuclear developments” around the world and highlights the fact that half a century after its founding, the IAEA continues to be the focal point for worldwide cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, for promoting global nuclear safety and security and, through its verification activities, for providing assurances that international obligations to use nuclear material and facilities for peaceful purposes are being complied with.

Specifically on nuclear technology, the report calls 2008 paradoxical for nuclear power.  Projections for future growth were revised upward, but no new reactors were connected to the grid –- the first year since 1955 without at least one new reactor coming online, although construction started on 10 new reactors ‑‑ the largest number in any one year since 1985.  Altogether, there were 44 nuclear power reactors under construction at the end of 2008, and a total of 438 in operation, supplying about 14 per cent of the world’s electricity.

Regarding innovative nuclear technologies, the report says the IAEA continues to facilitate coordination and information-sharing in that area.  Specifically, it compiled the expectations of developing countries in the form of “common user considerations” for appropriate designs to be developed in the near term.  About assurances of supply during the year, the report notes a number of positive responses to the Director General’s proposal to establish a nuclear fuel reserve of last resort under Agency auspices, in the event of supply disruptions.

On launching nuclear power programmes, the report makes the observation that while every country has the right to use nuclear power as an energy source, it also has the responsibility to ensure that this energy source is employed in a safe and secure manner.  According to the report, in 2008, interest continued to grow among Member States in starting nuclear power programmes, with more than 50 Member States having expressed interest in considering the introduction of nuclear power.  There was also increased demand for Agency assistance in assessing national and regional energy systems and energy strategies; its analytical tools are now being used in 115 Member States and six international organizations.

Concerning human resource issues, the report states that a number of countries have expressed their concern about possible lack of skilled workers needed for the future introduction or expansion of nuclear power.  With regard to nuclear applications, it acknowledges the increasing importance in today’s world of the application of nuclear technologies in food security, disease prevention and control, water resources and environmental management.

According to the report, there was also progress in developing techniques for the early and rapid diagnosis of transboundary animal diseases, including diseases that can be transferred to humans.  More than 60 Member States received the Agency’s support and technical guidance in such areas as diagnosis and vaccine technologies, and preventive measures.  In addition, last year, the Agency helped more than 16 Member States that requested its assistance in using post-harvest phytosanitary applications of food irradiation to meet quarantine requirements and to facilitate international trade in fresh produce.

On the issue of the Agency facilitating the development of comprehensive cancer control programmes, the report says that the world’s incidence of cancer doubled during the last three decades of the twentieth century and continues to increase, with cancer predicted to become the leading cause of death around the world by 2010, particularly in low and medium income countries.  The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that without intervention, more than 100 million people will die in the next 10 years.  Currently, more than 70 per cent of all cancer deaths already occur in such countries, where resources for prevention, diagnosis and treatment are limited or non-existent.

Accordingly, with the aim of strengthening its Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), the Agency formalized partnership agreements with four leading international cancer organizations and agencies, and finalized an agreement for a Joint Programme on Cancer Control with WHO.  Challenges and threats to the marine and terrestrial environment, such as climate change and pollution, are of growing concern, says the report in its section on the environment.  Thus raising awareness about the need to encourage the sustainable development of natural resources in all countries becomes essential. 

Turning to the question of nuclear safety and security, the Agency reports that the safety and security of civil nuclear installations around the world in recent years has remained at a high level.  However, it cautions against complacency, urging that as the uses and the introduction of nuclear technologies expand, greater vigilance must be exercised by the global nuclear community.  Levels of safety and security must keep pace with emerging technologies, expanding nuclear programmes and new entrants to the global nuclear community.

While acknowledging that safety and security are the prime responsibility of States, far reaching consequences of possible accidents or nuclear terrorist acts have led to the recognition that strong global arrangements to address these risks are necessary, the report asserts.  Against that backdrop, the Agency plays an important role by supporting the development and implementation of international conventions and codes of conduct, helping to establish international standards and guidelines, helping Member States through peer review missions to enhance their national safety and security infrastructures, and supporting regional and global knowledge network.

Additionally, the report notes that an increasing number of Member States are considering a nuclear power programme for the first time.  These new entrants may have an effective safety and security infrastructure for their current nuclear applications, but do not yet have the infrastructure appropriate for nuclear power, acknowledges the report.

Also by the report, even though all of the international safety and security conventions recorded additional parties, in the reporting year, participation in these conventions is by no means universal, thus limiting their influence.  This is of particular concern with regard to the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which was ratified, approved or accepted by only 22 States parties, far short of the number needed to bring the amendments into force.  The Agency continued to assist Member States in assessing their safety and security needs and vulnerabilities.

On incident and emergency preparedness and response and seismic safety, the report states that by the end of 2008, 14 Member States registered their expert capabilities with the Agency’s Response Assistance Network.  Recent extreme earthquakes and other natural evens have demonstrated the need to re-evaluate the safety of existing and future nuclear power plan designs, and to that end, in 2008, the IAEA established the International Seismic Safety Centre.  Supported by a scientific committee of high level experts, the Centre serves as a focal point for seismic safety at nuclear installations worldwide, according to the report.

On nuclear security, the report points out that States continued to give high priority to the threat of a malicious act involving nuclear or other radioactive material.  In helping them to address these concerns, the Agency in 2008 supported improvements to physical protection measures in over 15 States, provided training to more than 1,700 people from approximately 90 States in all aspects of nuclear security, and assisted in recovering more than 1,500 disused radioactive sources and moving them to safe and secure national storage facilities. 

The Agency’s nuclear security programme continued to depend very heavily on extrabudgetary funds from a few Member States and others.  In the year under review, financial contributions were received from 11 Member States and the European Union, and a number of other States made contributions in kind though donation of equipment and services. 

On its involvement with nuclear security at major public events, the Agency reports that it continued to help States to meet the nuclear security challenges associated with hosting major public events, and in that regard cites the assistance it provided to China during the Beijing Olympic Games, to Peru for the Latin American and Caribbean-European Union Summit, and to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit.  That assistance included training, detection equipment, knowledge sharing and information support. 

With regard to technical cooperation, it said the Agency’s technical cooperation programme is one of the principal mechanisms for promoting tangible socio-economic impacts in Member States and ensuring that nuclear technology is used in a safe, secure and peaceful way.  Through this programme, the Agency supports the use of appropriate nuclear science and technology to address major sustainable development priorities at the national, regional and interregional levels.

A major pillar of the Agency’s programme provides assurances to the international community regarding the peaceful use of nuclear material and facilities.  The Agency’s verification programme thus remains at the core of multilateral efforts to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons and move towards nuclear disarmament, notes the report.  Summing up the Agency’s safeguards activities for the year, the report says safeguards were applied for some 163 States with safeguards agreements in force with the Agency.  Eighty‑four States had both Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols in force.

Regarding other verification activities, the report says that during 2008, the Director General submitted four reports to the IAEA’s Board on the implementation of Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) safeguards agreement and relevant Security Council resolutions in Iran.  The Agency was able to verify that non-diversion of the declared nuclear material last year, but, as Iran did not provide the information and access that would have allowed the Agency to make progress on a number of outstanding issues related to that country’s past nuclear activities, and as it has not implemented its Additional Protocols, “the Agency remained unable to draw a conclusion regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.”

The report goes on to state that contrary to Security Council decisions, Iran did not suspend its uranium enrichment-related activities and continued its heavy water-related project.  On other country specific matters, as authorized by its Board, the Agency implemented monitoring and verification measures in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea related to the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities and one facility at Taechon.

Those activities were partially discontinued from 22 September to 13 October 2008, at the country’s request, resulting in a lack of access for Agency inspectors to the Yongbyon facilities and in the removal of Agency seals and surveillance equipment at the Radiochemical Laboratory.  On 14 October 2008, the Agency resumed its monitoring and verification arrangements.  It found no indication that those facilities had resumed operation during that period of time.

The report says that in 2008, the Agency remained active in fostering international cooperation for the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies, and in transferring these technologies to developing countries.  It continues to press for a comprehensive and effective nuclear safety regime, and it has been laying the groundwork for a strengthened verification system.  In looking to the future, the report stresses that for the Secretariat and Member States to be able to continue to move forward on all these fronts, an active partnership and adequate resources are indispensable; it also declares that the Agency is committed to reinforcing this partnership.

Also before the Assembly today was the Secretary-General’s report on the Programme of education outreach on the transatlantic slave trade and slavery (A/64/1299), which states that since the establishment of the outreach programme, the Department of Public Information has developed activities to bridge the knowledge gap about the slave trade and its aftermath, and to encourage broad-based study and discussion on the topic.  That Department continued to implement activities aimed at educating present and future generations about the causes, consequences, lessons and legacy of the 400-year transatlantic slave trade and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice.

According to the report, the Department organized several events at United Nations Headquarters in observance of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on 25 March.  Among these events were a cultural evening, a concert, an exhibit, and a student video conference.  Additionally, the Department’s outreach and awareness-raising programme also included follow-up activities throughout the year, targeting and responding to communities and civil society organizations in furthering the aims of the Organization pertaining to the transatlantic slave trade and slavery.

Statement by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Delivering his last speech to the General Assembly, MOHAMED ELBARADEI, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that since he first addressed the world body in 1998, the Agency had moved from being a relatively unknown technical organization to a major player at the centre of issues critical to international peace and security.

While he was proud of the Agency’s many achievements, he was disappointed that it was still fighting the same battles to secure funding, that the development side of its mandate remained chronically under-funded, and that the body lacked adequate legal authority to do its job effectively in verification, safety and security.  On a more positive note, however, nuclear disarmament, which failed to make headway in the two decades since the end of the cold war, was now back at the top of the international agenda.

Turning to nuclear power, he said the world seemed set for a significant expansion in the use of such energy, with scores of countries expressing interest in introducing it as a part of their energy mix.  Many of those countries were in the developing world, which urgently needed to increase its energy supply.  “Energy is the engine of development,” he said, and nuclear power, with its good performance and safety record, was a way to meet their surging demand, and reduce their vulnerability to fossil fuel price fluctuations.

Nuclear safety had improved since the shock of Chernobyl in 1986, and the Agency’s safety standards had recently been adopted by the European Union.  He hoped to see those standards accepted by all countries and, ideally, made binding.

As to the development side of its mandate, the Agency was the principal vehicle for multilateral nuclear technology transfer, he said.  Its technical cooperation had made a difference, notably as induced crop mutations involving nuclear techniques had produced salt-tolerant rice and drought-resistant wheat, providing better nutrition and food security for farmers.

Likewise, the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy was bringing new hope to cancer patients and their families in developing countries, where cancer incidence continued to inexorably rise, he said.  Back in 1998, the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme totalled a modest $80 million annually.  Ten years later, in 2008, the programme disbursed $96 million -- a negligible increase, considering inflation, the growth in the Agency membership, from 127 countries to the present 150.  “We can and should do much more,” he stressed.

With that, he urged donor States to recognize the link between security and development.  Without development, there could be no security, and the reverse was also true.  Improving life for the 2 billion people – one-third of humanity –- who lived on less than $2 a day was not just the right thing to do, “it is the smart thing to do”.  By helping to address the root causes of insecurity, including endemic conflict and poverty, it was less likely that countries would be tempted to seek nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

He was concerned that extremists would get a hold of nuclear or radioactive materials -– “the gravest threat the world faced today”.  In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Agency initiated a comprehensive programme to combat that risk, and while he was proud of the Agency’s speed and efficiency in providing $50 million in equipment, training and other assistance to States in the last three years, he was disconcerted that nuclear security continued to be funded almost entirely from voluntary contributions, to which unpredictable conditions were attached.  More had to be done, notably as the incidence of illicit trafficking and unauthorized activities reported to the Illicit Trafficking Database –- over 200 last year -- might well be only “the tip of the iceberg”.

Also, the global non-proliferation landscape had radically changed in the last two decades, he said, as had the way the Agency implemented safeguards.  Indeed, it had moved beyond simple verification of declared nuclear material at declared facilities, to assessing information on a State’s entire nuclear programme and -- most importantly –- verifying the absence of undeclared activities.  The Model Additional Protocol, approved in 1997, had become an essential verification tool.

However, the Agency’s ability to detect possible clandestine nuclear material and activities depended on the extent to which it was given the necessary legal authority, technology and resources, he said.  Regrettably, the Agency faced major shortcomings in all three areas, which, if not addressed, could put the entire non-proliferation regime at risk.  In over 90 States, the Agency had either no, or inadequate, verification authority.  “Our credibility depends on our independence,” he said.  Funding was urgently needed for state-of-the-art technology and improved access to top-quality satellite imagery.

Turning to various country situations, he said Iraq and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were the two cases of suspected nuclear proliferation preoccupying the world when he had taken office.  He would always lament that a tragic war was launched in Iraq on a false pretext, without Security Council authorization and despite the Agency and United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) having found no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons programmes.  “It gives me no consolation that the Agency’s findings were subsequently vindicated.”

On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said that in 16 years, that country had moved from the likely possession of undeclared plutonium to acquisition of nuclear weapons.  Its intermittent dialogue with the global community had stymied resolution of that issue, a glaring example of the fragility of the non-proliferation regime.

From those cases, important lessons had to be learned, he said, notably that “we must let diplomacy and thorough verification take their course –- however lengthy and tiresome the process might be”.  He urged carefully assessing the veracity of intelligence, engaging those with whom there were differences, and acting within the framework of international institutions -- like the Agency and the Council -- rather than bypassing them.  For its part, the Agency must draw conclusions justified by the facts only –- rather than “jump the gun” or be swayed by political considerations.

All such lessons were applicable in the case of Iran, he said, whose nuclear programme remained an issue before both the Agency and the Council.  Six years had passed since Iran was reported to the Agency’s Board of Governors for failing to declare material and activities, in violation of its Safeguards Agreement.  While the Agency, through “painstaking” work, now better understood Iran’s civil nuclear programme, various questions and charges relevant to the nature of that programme had to be clarified by Iran through cooperation.

He said that addressing such concerns was mainly a matter of confidence-building, and he urged Iran to be as forthcoming as possible in responding soon to his recent proposal -- based on the initiative of the United States, Russian Federation and France –- which aimed to engage Iran in measures to build trust and open the way for substantive dialogue.  That incremental process required focussing on the big picture and taking risks for peace.

“The Agency cannot do its nuclear verification work in isolation”, he continued, saying that the Security Council must develop a comprehensive compliance mechanism that did not rely solely on sanctions.  It must focus more on conflict prevention and address the insecurities behind many proliferation cases, like unresolved conflict.

To address the chance that any State that had mastered uranium enrichment or plutonium processing would develop nuclear weapons, he urged moving from national to multinational control of the nuclear fuel cycle.  As a first step, he had proposed the establishment of a low-enriched uranium bank to assure States of a guaranteed, last-resort nuclear fuel supply for their reactors.  Various other proposals had been made and he was convinced that some such mechanism was essential as more countries introduced nuclear energy.  “Our ultimate goal should be the full multinationalization of the sensitive parts of the fuel cycle,” he said.

Such a world was within grasp, following the courageous initiative of the United States President and resumption of serious disarmament talks between the two largest nuclear weapon States, he said.  While he did not expect to see a world free from nuclear weapons in his lifetime, he was increasingly hopeful that his children might live in such a world.  The recent adoption of Security Council resolution 1887 (2009) was encouraging and it was vital that the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference build on that momentum.

Indeed, it was clear that tremendous challenges and opportunities lay ahead for the Agency.  Its dual mandate of security and development was unique:  it was part of a complex web of international security mechanisms which had to work in harmony if the Agency was to effectively serve people.  He did not share the prevailing cynicism about international organizations, which he believed were capable of great things if properly resourced and empowered.

Ultimately, the world needed a new collective security system in which no country felt the need to rely on nuclear weapons for security, he said.  It should include effective mechanisms for conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacemaking, and ensure that security was not perceived as a “zero-sum” game.  It should place human solidarity at its core and enable all people to live together, free from fear and want.  In closing, he thanked the Assembly for its support over his 12 years as Director General.  “It has been an honour and a privilege to work with all of you.” 

Statements on International Atomic Energy Agency

Introducing the draft resolution on the annual report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (A/64/L.7), HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said the text had been the product of consultations held in Vienna and was an update of a similar resolution adopted by consensus at the Assembly’s sixty-third session.  It took note of the Agency’s report and resolutions adopted at the fifty-third regular session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna, held from 14 to 18 September 2009.

The draft also expressed the Assembly’s appreciation for the 12 years of distinguished service by Dr. Mohamed Elbaradei, as Director General of the Agency, and extended best wishes to Mr.  Yukiya Amano, the incoming Director General.  As in previous years, the resolution affirmed the Assembly’s strong 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.  The resolution also appealed to Member States to continue to support its activities and he hoped the Assembly would adopt the document by consensus.

PER ÖRNÉUS ( Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Member States of his delegation had co-sponsored the relevant draft before the Assembly; however, that support did not imply support for IAEA resolution GC (53)/RES/17 on Israeli nuclear capabilities, mentioned in operative paragraph 2.  When action had been taken on that text, “a considerable number of States” had voted against it, including European Unionmembers.

He went on to say that 50 years ago the Agency had been set up to promote Atoms for Peace with the mandate to increase the contribution of nuclear energy to peace, health and prosperity, to ensure that nuclear activities were not diverted to military purposes, to spread throughout the world a safety culture and rigorous safety standards and to avert nuclear terrorism.  Today, the Agency faced a number of compelling challenges in particular, nuclear proliferation and compliance issues.

The Agency’s international safeguards system was an essential part of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime as its prime objective to detect and deter the diversion of nuclear materials for use in nuclear weapons, he continued.  The current verification standard included the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements with Additional Protocols.  The European Union was working towards making the Additional Protocols a condition for the supply of nuclear exports.  The Agency’s efforts had set the framework for cooperative efforts to build and strengthen an international safety and security regime and had the full support of the European Union in that regard, and played an important role in strengthening the global nuclear safety framework.

He said the European Union had also dedicated 570 million euros for the period 2007-2013 to assist countries in strengthening nuclear safety and radiation protection.  In addition, the European Union had contributed more than 20 million euros since 2004 for the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund, which he called all States to commit to.  Lastly, he mentioned the safety and security of radioactive sources.  In this regard, the role of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources adopted by the General Conference of the Agency in 2003 was of particular importance.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said the Agency’s main task for the immediate future was to ensure conditions under which its Member States could use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with the requirements of the nuclear non-proliferation regime without any impediments.  Upgrading the Agency’s potential in revealing undeclared nuclear materials and unannounced nuclear activities was an important part of strengthening this regime.  The Agency’s system of safeguards played an important role in ensuring the effectiveness of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  It was time to ponder the issue of making the Agency’s technical control capabilities meet the expanded number of facilities placed under its safeguards.

Turning to relations with the United States, he said that the Presidents of both countries had adopted a joint statement on cooperation in the nuclear sphere during a meeting in Moscow on 2 July 2009.  That statement had confirmed their commitment to work together to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation and preclude acts of nuclear terrorism and increase the level of security surrounding nuclear facilities around the world.  He invited all Member States to join the two countries in that work.

The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), put forward by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States in 2006, was a major contribution to strengthen the nuclear physical safety regime.  It was acquiring a global dimension as 76 States had joined it as participating nations, he said.  The Russian Federation had given assistance to Ukraine to improve the safety of the Chernobyl site to accelerate the facility’s decommissioning.  In 2009, the Russian Federation had allocated $10 million for this purpose and would contribute $7 million to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund in 2010.

Russia supported the Agency’s role in promoting multilateral approaches to the creation of nuclear fuel cycle services, which could offer an economically feasible and viable alternative to the creation of those elements at the national level.  He also said that the International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) was created in 2007 in cooperation with the Republic of Kazakhstan on the premises of the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Plant.  In 2008, the Centre had obtained all the required permits and licenses to carry out practical activities as a supplier of goods and services.

He went on to say that Armenia had joined the IUEC this year, and the procedure for the Ukraine to join was being finalized.  The Centre was capable of addressing the issue of guaranteed access to services in the field of nuclear fuel cycle, but guaranteed deliveries of nuclear fuel upon request from the Agency.  The Russian Federation would continue working on the initiative to create a guarantee reserve of low-enriched uranium in a volume of two full reactor core fuelling loads of one thousand megawatt installed capacity with the planned storage, under an arrangement with the Agency.

He emphasized that the Russian proposal regarding principles of creating guaranteed reserves, introduced during the IAEA General Conference last year, was based on article IX of the Agency’s charter.  Rights of member States of the Agency were not infringed upon, including the development of their proper production capacity in the field of nuclear fuel cycle.  The right to receive low-enriched uranium from a guaranteed reserve did not require renouncing the rights to create and develop one’s proper fuel cycle.  The Russian Federation had not put forward such a condition, he said, stressing that such material could be supplied by any non-nuclear IAEA member States which was not in breach of its safeguards agreement and had put all of its nuclear activities under the Agency’s safeguards.

MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said the right of non-nuclear-weapon States members of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had become increasingly important at a time when developing countries faced growing needs for clean and affordable sources of energy, which had surged due to financial and economic crises that had cast shadows on the ability of those countries to reach their development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

Moreover, the importance of the IAEA in supporting international cooperation for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy was further heightened in light of the quantitative and qualitative inadequacy in the existing level of nuclear power technology transfer from developed to developing States.  That inadequacy had been contributed to by the attempts of some to impose false conditions and unjustified restrictions on the acquisition of non-nuclear-weapon States, members of the NPT, of their required materials and technology to development their peaceful nuclear programmes on the one hand, and the provision of the Nuclear Suppliers Group of exceptions, on the other hand, to countries which were not members of the NPT, according to which they received technologies and nuclear materials which by far exceeded what had been provided to the NPT member States, he charged.

With the 2010 NPT Review Conference approaching, that imbalance in implementing the Treaty had to be addressed promptly and in a decisive manner.  Acknowledging that the IAEA remained the only multilateral forum to discuss and study the technical, legal and practical dimensions of a number of proposals which had been put forward on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear fuel assurances, he stated that those discussions could not be concluded without reaching a consensus, which so far remained absent.  While Egypt welcomed the exploration of supplementary means to provide for nuclear fuel assurances and promote voluntary arrangements for international cooperation in the area of fuel production without giving up any rights, Egypt did not see a basis for such arrangements resulting in any form of restriction on free national choices on the nuclear fuel cycle.

Turning his attention to the Middle East, he said all States of the region had acknowledged the central importance of joining the Comprehensive Safeguards System, except for Israel, which remained outside that system, despite the annual adoption of the IAEA General Conference of a resolution called “Application of IAEA Safeguards on the Middle East”.  That resolution demanded that Israel join the comprehensive safeguards system in order to facilitate the arrangements needed to build confidence and realize regional peace and security.  He welcomed the Agency’s continued efforts to further develop the Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plans and to work towards providing all required voluntary funds to the Nuclear Security Fund.  He also looked forward to Egypt’s participation in the nuclear security summit to be convened by the United States next April.

ZOYA KOLONTAI ( Belarus) said her delegation attached great importance to the IAEA’s efforts regarding technical cooperation, nuclear power engineering, nuclear non-proliferation and safeguard regimes, nuclear and radiation safety, especially since the country was preparing to construct its first nuclear power plant.   Belarus had made considerable progress in building a relevant nuclear power infrastructure which was necessary to provide safe use of nuclear energy.  Special attention was being paid to the development of nuclear legislation and standards, and a regulatory infrastructure in nuclear and radiation safety.  In full compliance with its international commitments, Belarus launched public hearings to complete documentation on the assessment of environmental impacts during the planning and construction of the plant.

Belarus was a consistent adherent to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as well as committed to strengthening of the IAEA’s safeguard regime, she continued.  While considering non-proliferation and disarmament, it was necessary to remember that one of the most important goals was to secure safeguards of nuclear power technologies for peaceful purposes only.  In this regard it was important to remember that under the NPT and the IAEA Charter, each member State had a right to implement a peaceful nuclear programme.  Lastly, as a founding member State of the IAEA, Belarus stood for strengthening the Agency as the leading international organization promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy for the purposes of sustainable development.

MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE ( Iran) said that, after more than half a century since its creation, the Agency’s scope of activities had expanded, and he was pleased that Iran’s oil rich neighbours in the Persian Gulf region were pursuing nuclear energy as a new energy source, with cooperation from certain European countries.  “Nuclear renaissance is on the horizon,” he said, noting that the Agency was the sole international organization to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.  Indeed, the Agency should be the major body to help States parties to the NPT fully implement article IV of the Treaty, according to which States parties would facilitate the exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

Iran attached great importance to the Agency’s role as the sole, competent body of verification activities, he said, also reaffirming its independent and technical aspects.  All States should avoid using the Agency as a political instrument for their short-term interests.  Protecting States’ confidential information was also important and he expressed concern at the continued illegal release of such information, as such a trend only jeopardized the Agency’s credibility.

Moreover, he said the peaceful use of nuclear energy was an inalienable right of all States parties to the Treaty, and he was gravely concerned that certain nuclear weapons States, and their allies, under the pretext of non-proliferation, had restricted the transfer of nuclear material, equipment and technology to developing countries.  While they were obliged to cooperate in those areas, they had imposed new restrictions under the excuse of export controls, nuclear security, nuclear terrorism and multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle.  Further, their cooperation with the Zionist regime was a clear sign of their non-compliance to the Treaty.  Such double standards only undermined the integrity of both the Treaty and the Agency.

He said Iran attached great importance to the universality of the Treaty and the Agency’s safeguards.  The recent resolutions of the General Conference regarding the Application of Agency Safeguards in the Middle East, and the nuclear capabilities of the Israeli regime, were strong messages to the Zionist regime.  That regime was the only non-party to the Treaty in the Middle East, and its clandestine nuclear weapon programme was being carried out in unsafeguarded secret facilities, the most serious threat to the region.  He called on States to fully implement their obligations under the Treaty and the 1995 Middle East resolution.  In closing, he reiterated that Iran, as a party to the Treaty, considered the development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes as an inalienable right.   Iran had invested extensive human and material resources in that field, a policy based on a well-studied, long-term plan to meet its growing energy needs.

RODOLFO BENÍTEZ (Cuba), noting the growing need to use nuclear applications in problem solving, said the Agency’s technical cooperation pillar must be strengthened.   Cuba appreciated the application of technologies and aimed to align its technical cooperation projects with development objectives.  In 2008, Cuba had contributed to the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme, with 29 Cuban experts in 53 of its missions, and eight professors involved in other technical cooperation activities.   Cuba especially welcomed the cancer therapy treatment programme.  The Government also had allocated human and financial resources to comply with its safeguards agreements, and had undertaken no undeclared activities.

He said the blockade continued to affect the Agency’s ability to carry out projects in Cuba.  United States-based firms could not sell their equipment to Cuba, given the possibility of sanctions, which forced the island nation to turn to more costly options and purchase equipment from further afield.  Some States possessed minimal amounts of nuclear material, and as a result, Cuba could not establish comprehensive measures thinking only of those with large - or medium-scale programmes.  He urged removing pressure from the verification system, which would undermine the Agency’s credibility.  Political manipulation over the so-called “ Iran nuclear case” should have stopped long ago, as should have the double standard regarding a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East. 

Cuba respected the right of all States to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he said, adding that voluntary measures should not become obligations.  The Agency was the only body with the power to monitor compliance and he trusted that its work would continue without external interference.  He rejected any attempt to use the supply of nuclear fuel as a way to confirm the monopoly of a few countries over distribution.  Only the total elimination of nuclear weapons would help to guarantee peace and security, and he was disturbed by the development of militaristic policies.  “We have the power to revert this trend in the coming months,” he said, citing the 2010 Review Conference as a way to ensure that reason prevailed over multilateral action.

HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) commended the IAEA for its support over the past few years on nuclear applications, promoting socio-economic development through its technical cooperation, and in contributing to world peace and security.  Technical cooperation was the basic instrument for promoting peaceful uses of atomic energy for sustainable development.  Therefore, he hoped that this cooperation would increase and be funded properly, and the IAEA needed to pursue a more balanced distribution in its budget.

Moving on to issues of the nuclear fuel cycle, he stressed the different proposals on it with regards to multilateralism.  “The creation of a multilateral fuel cycle arrangement is indeed crucial for strengthening the existing non-proliferation regime.  Any proposal in this respect should not hinder the rights of States to develop all aspects of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes,” he said.

He touched on other issues, including guaranteeing a high level of nuclear safety worldwide, the prevention of nuclear terrorism and illicit trafficking of nuclear material and enhancing the safeguards regime.  The Agency’s role in combating nuclear proliferation and the urgency of providing it with all necessary means to perform its verification responsibilities was highlighted by challenges in the past year.  Regarding nuclear verification in places such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran, he said Indonesia continued to support all diplomatic efforts to resolve those issues at the earliest date.  He expressed concern over the continued failure to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  “We are perturbed by Israel’s persistent attitude of defiance to place its nuclear installations under the IAEA safeguards,” he said, adding that no country in the Middle East could be exempted from IAEA safeguards.

KAMAL BASHIR (Sudan), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said the IAEA’s report showed the need for technology transfers for peaceful means, and it also highlighted the Agency’s growing role in the area of cooperation and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  The Sudan attached great importance to the use of nuclear technology for food security, to combat plagues, boost water resources and strengthen agricultural methods.

He reaffirmed the rights of States to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as they followed international safeguards and verification agreements.  States had to refrain from pressuring the Agency and work to preserve its crucial role.  The Sudan favored a just and fair approach to deal with outstanding issues regarding specific States.  It also supported the aspirations of regions to declare themselves as nuclear-free zones.   Sudan was deeply concerned that the Middle East was still far from free of such weapons and capabilities.   Israel was the only nuclear State in the region and it refused to subject its nuclear projects to the Agency’s systems and defied the international community.  He said Israel should respect the international agreements and additional protocols.  The Sudan praised the efforts of the IAEA and wanted to strengthen its capacity.

KIM BONG-HYUN ( Republic of Korea) said the universalization of the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols was an essential means for improving the current safeguard and verification regime.  The Additional Protocols were becoming an essential standard and he called on States that had not yet done so to bring them into force without delay.  He appreciated the Agency’s steering role in developing a new multilateral framework for assuring the supply of nuclear fuel.  Any mechanism should meet the basic means of each Member State and the international community:  expanding reliable, economic and equitable access to nuclear fuels while reducing proliferation risks.

Nuclear terrorism was a real threat to international peace and security in terms of the increasing risk of terrorist attacks and the serious consequences of a one-time accident, he said.  Nuclear security-related activities were one of the Agency’s core functions, and he encouraged it to strengthen its work for enhanced nuclear security, even as he welcomed its implementation of the Nuclear Security Plan for 2006-2009.

Turning to events in North-East Asia, he said the peaceful resolution to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear issue was vital to securing lasting peace and prosperity in the Korean peninsula and North-East Asia.  Since the Assembly session last year, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had blatantly violated the Six-Party Talks Agreements and relevant Security Council resolutions, not only by the nuclear test last May, but the launches of a long-range rocket in April and ballistic missiles in July and October of this year.  The adoption of Council resolution 1874 (2009), which condemned in the strongest terms that nuclear test and had reinforced the sanctions regime already in place against the country, had been a clear reflection of the united will of the Council and international community to stem the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea s’ nuclear development and nuclear proliferation activities.

His delegation believed that all nations should send an unequivocal message to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by fully implementing the obligations under Council resolution 1874 (2009).  It was imperative that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea promptly returned to the Six-Party Talks, abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner, in accordance with the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005, and return to the NPT regime, and faithfully comply with international obligations and all commitments, he said.

ONON SODOV ( Mongolia) expressed her delegation’s appreciation for the active measures and valuable support the IAEA gave to its members, especially developing countries.  Mongolia was stepping into a new phase of its nuclear activities for peaceful purposes and was taking concrete measures to develop nuclear energy and promote its wider application in health and agricultural areas.  This year, the Mongolian Parliament had adopted a State policy and action plan on uranium utilization and nuclear energy.  A Nuclear Energy Law had been passed, which regulated issues pertaining to the exploitation of radioactive minerals and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, nuclear safety and protection from the impacts of ionizing radiation.

Cancer morbidity and mortality were on the rise and had become the second major cause of mortality among the population.  Thus, she said, Mongolia requested that the Agency provide needed advice and assistance, in the form of its Program of Action for Cancer Therapy.  Turning to issues of non-proliferation and disarmament, she expressed a long-standing commitment to the issue, and thus, Mongolia hosted the first meeting of focal points of nuclear-weapon-free zones last April.  She added that the NPT could only fulfil its role if Member States were confident in the compliance by others of their Treaty obligations.  She called on all states that had not signed the NPT or Safeguards Agreement to do so.  Regarding the Korean peninsula, she mentioned that it should be denuclearized but that that situation should be resolved peacefully through dialogue.

PETER MAURER ( Switzerland) said his Government fully supported the Agency and he expressed hope that this year’s resolution on the IAEA and its work would be adopted without a vote.  Mr. ElBaradei had asked the Assembly to reflect on proposals, such as multilateralization of the fuel cycle, and in that way, he had contributed to the promotion of peace and security throughout the world.   Switzerland also looked forward to working with the new Director General, who would take over at a crucial time in the Agency’s history.

With the possibility of real progress in the area of nuclear disarmament, it would be possible for the Agency to undertake new verification challenges, he said.   Switzerland, which had always supported a balance between nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, was ready to support such a development in the Agency.  Recent progress in budget management should equally be saluted.   Switzerland, a member of the Agency’s Board of Governors, would remain committed to supporting the Agency in its mission.

JOHANN PASCHALIS (South Africa) said today’s meeting was taking place at a time of growing concern regarding the inability of the international community, developing countries and Africa, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Thus, it was imperative that everyone work together.  In that connection, South Africa noted the commendable activities undertaken by the Agency in strengthening international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, and in nuclear science, technology and applications.

As part of its contribution to the implementation of the development aspect of the Agency, he said South Africa was involved in nuclear knowledge management and an active participant in the Agency’s fellowship and scientific visit programme and would host the Ninth World Conference for Neutron Radiography.  He said that South Africa viewed radioactive waste management as an important area and thus developed a waste disposal institute to manage it.  In addition, progress had been made regarding the first Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility on the African continent.

South Africa was working to end the global shortage of molybdenum-99 isotopes, he continued, adding that his country’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Company was moving forward with construction work to commission a reactor in 2018.  Furthermore, a high priority had been assigned to agricultural development, especially on the continent.  He touched on other issues, including the need for a strengthened Safeguards System; the need for an end to the nuclear weapons programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; and encouraging signs of cooperation between the Agency and Iran that was a “window of opportunity” to initiate talks.  Lastly, climate change was a serious threat globally, and he hoped the Copenhagen Conference in December would take necessary decisions, taking into account socio-economic development imperatives of developing nations.

YAQOUB YOUSEF ALSANAD ( Kuwait) said that since its accession to the NPT four decades ago, his country had worked closely with the IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation to create laboratories for the measurement of radioactive isotopes in the country’s water and soil.  It had hosted regional workshops, in cooperation with the Agency, and was keen to send trainees to participate in courses held at IAEA headquarters.   Kuwait emphasized the importance of enhancing Member States capability to use nuclear applications for sustainable food security, such as dealing with deteriorating soils, increasing agricultural production and combating pests.  

As part of its work in that area, the Council of Ministers had created the High National Commission for Nuclear Energy, headed by his Highness, the Amir of Kuwait.  In addition, he said the Gulf Cooperation Council of States, which aimed to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, would discuss the creation of a nuclear training centre at an upcoming summit of Heads of States, scheduled for Kuwait in December.  This centre would train cadres from the Gulf countries to handle safe nuclear energy.

Turning to events in the Middle East, he said that region would not accomplish its goal of peace and stability as long as Israel remained the only country there refusing to subject its nuclear facilities to the Agency’s safeguard controls.  That was a primary obstacle to achieving universality of the NPT.  Moreover, it was an incentive for other States to seek nuclear weapons owing to the inaction of the international community, which was lax in dealing with States that refused to open their nuclear facilities and reactors to international inspectors, he said.

Kuwait demanded that the international community pressure Israel to join the NPT and subject all of its facilities to the Agency’s safeguards.  He also emphasized the right of all States in the region to acquire the needed technology and know-how to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  In this regard, Kuwait welcomed the ongoing talks between Iran and the “Group of 5+1” in Geneva and Vienna, and that country’s constructive ideas for the exchange of nuclear fuel.   Kuwait encouraged Iran to continue its cooperation with the IAEA with transparency and to implement all the articles relevant to the Agency’s requirements and relevant international resolutions, in order to maintain the region’s peace and security.

YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) said the Agency played a crucial role in maintaining peace and security, as it disseminated the benefits of nuclear technology, verified non-proliferation and provided services to developing countries -– functions that were growing in importance.   Japan had made significant contributions to promoting the peaceful use of nuclear technology for the purposes of health, energy and development, and would continue to share its scientific knowledge and technology with developing countries through the Technical Cooperation Programme.  The role of nuclear power generation was attracting global interest, and it was essential to pay utmost attention to safeguards, safety and security.  In that regard, Japan would continue to organize regional seminars and host an international conference on nuclear security for Asia, in 2010.

Moreover, he said Japan had been at the forefront of efforts on the elimination of nuclear weapons and nuclear non-proliferation issues.  Regrettably, many nuclear arsenals were still in place, and he therefore welcomed the Security Council’s recent adoption of a nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament resolution.  This year, Japan had submitted a draft resolution to the General Assembly on the total elimination of nuclear weapons and was pleased that the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) had adopted it overwhelmingly last week.  To contribute to the success of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Japan and Australia had launched the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.  The most effective way to strengthen the safeguards system was to universalize the Additional Protocol.  

On other matters, he said the nuclear and missile programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea posed a grave threat to peace and security in North-East Asia and they were totally unacceptable.  All States should work to firmly implement Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2007), and he urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to immediately return to the Six‑Party Talks without preconditions, and to fulfil the commitment it made in the Joint Statement.  Japan would seek to normalize its relation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by comprehensively resolving all outstanding issues of concern.  Finally, on Iran, he hoped that country would fully cooperate with the Agency and respond to requirements of both its Board of Directors and Security Council resolutions.   Japan continued to contribute towards a peaceful resolution of that issue.

JONATHAN TOW ( Singapore) said his Government viewed the Agency’s three pillars -– safety and security; safeguards and verification; and science and technology -– as complementary and equally important.  As nuclear energy was increasingly seen as an option for countries, nuclear safety and security was ever more crucial to avoid any catastrophic fallout.   Singapore endorsed the Agency’s work to ensure the highest standards, notably through setting relevant benchmarks, and through its adopted instruments, peer reviews, assistance and review missions.  As the world entered a “nuclear renaissance”, a corresponding culture of safety had to be established.  Regional and national efforts had to be redoubled, and in that context, he noted the European Union’s adoption of a nuclear safety directive.

In South-East Asia, he said several countries had either indicated an interest in or were pursuing nuclear energy programmes, and he urged more cooperation to ensure greater security.  Describing various regional efforts, he said Singapore fully supported the Asian Nuclear Safety Network in its effort to ensure high safety standard in Asia.  States’ rights to use nuclear materials for peaceful purposes must also be exercised in compliance with non-proliferation obligations.  The Agency’s safeguards and verification regime must remain capable of responding credibly to new challenges.  At a national level, every State had to play its part and Singapore had enhanced its legislative framework to ensure compliance with the Additional Protocol and the Modified Small Quantities Protocol, which it ratified and concluded with the Agency in March, 2008.

Finally, he said the Agency’s quiet work in promoting the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology had generated the greatest impact in developing countries and towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals -– yet, the media had “grossly” underreported those aspects of the Agency’s work.  That should change.  Also, there was still room for the Agency to enhance its technical cooperation work to help developing countries in that area and Singapore looked forward to further cooperation with the Agency through its Memorandum of Understanding in outreach efforts to assist other developing countries.  In closing, he urged all States to fully cooperate with the Agency, especially those with outstanding obligations and issues.

YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine) declared that his country stood with those nations which had urged further strengthening of the IAEA and its ability to detect and deter the diversion of nuclear material for non-peaceful purposes.  To that end, he noted positively the constructive discussions that had recently taken place in Vienna within the framework of the open-ended process on “The Future of the Agency”, and the role it should play in 2020 and beyond.

Calling the Agency’s international safeguards system an essential part of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, he said Ukraine considered that the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements together with Additional Protocols constituted the current IAEA verification standard, and called on all States to bring such Safeguards Agreements into force without delay and to sign, ratify and implement an Additional Protocol.  At the same time, existing challenges to non-proliferation efforts underscored the need for collective action to shore up the international Safeguards System, he explained, stressing that those challenges took place at a time when the international safeguards system was facing a growing imbalance between the IAEA mission and resources.  He thus welcomed the United States 2008 Next Generation Safeguards Initiative aimed at developing policies, concepts, technologies and infrastructure to meet those challenges. 

He went on to say that Ukraine highly valued the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme and encouraged its continued strong support of regional cooperation initiatives.  Of particular importance were the problems of radioactive waste management during the decommissioning of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.  The IAEA continued to provide assistance in remediation of the territories affected by radionuclides in Ukraine.  The Agency had also recently held a seminar on the third decade of cooperation and actions aimed at the social and economic rehabilitation of the territories that had suffered from the Chernobyl disaster.   Ukraine hoped the IAEA’s attention to the Chernobyl issue would not decrease, since it remained a challenge for the entire international community.

MESFIN MIDEKSSA (Ethiopia), aligned with the statements made on behalf of the African Group, and the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said his country was engaged in several national and regional projects to use nuclear techniques to address various socio-economic development challenges in the areas of agriculture, human health, water resources development and energy planning.  The number of national projects had increased and their content and depth showed remarkable transformation.

Ethiopia welcomed the decision of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to retain the joint FAO/IAEA Division, which had been instrumental creating a synergy between the two organizations.  That was especially important for developing and least developed countries.  The recent Pelindaba Treaty on an African nuclear-weapon-free zone was a clear manifestation of the commitment of African States for more transparency and cooperation among themselves.  He called on all African Member States to ratify that Treaty.  As a founding member of the Agency, Ethiopia was committed to the peaceful use of nuclear technologies and applications.  It was important to stress that nuclear non-proliferation could eventually lead to a nuclear-threat-free world, if and only if, it was complemented by genuine disarmament measures by all nuclear-weapon States.

LI YANG ( China) began by complimenting the International Atomic Energy Agency’s constructive role in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy through programmes on nuclear power, nuclear application and technical cooperation, and in addressing specific regional nuclear issues.

He said that economic development, climate change and rising energy needs had led to an increasing number of countries seeking to develop nuclear energy.  At the same time, strengthening the non-proliferation regime and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons was a matter of great concern to the international community.   China was of the view that the Agency needed to adopt a balanced approach towards both categories of activities with emphasis on a number of aspects.  Those aspects included making full use of the IAEA’s expertise and increased input into technical cooperation programmes that would assist Member States in developing nuclear power and nuclear application, and the promotion of relevant international cooperation. 

Another aspect would be for the Agency to take concrete measures to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of safeguards and promote the universality of the Additional Protocols to earnestly prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Similarly, the Agency should further promote nuclear safety culture and the establishment of regulations and standards system for nuclear safety and continue to assist Member States in establishing sound and effective nuclear security systems to improve the collective capability of preventing and combating nuclear terrorism.  Additionally, the IAEA should continue to play a constructive role in promoting the resolution of regional nuclear issues through peaceful means, in addition to facilitating discussions on multilateral nuclear fuel supply assurance in an effort to seek consensus by all sides on the issue.

RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said that in order to afford every State its right to the peaceful application of nuclear technology, particularly nuclear power generation, there was need for the development of universal and non-discriminatory criteria for international cooperation.  In that process, principles had to be placed above perceptions.  Such an approach would also help to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, he added.

He told the Assembly that Pakistan, a long-time strong supporter of using nuclear technology for progress and prosperity, looked to the Agency and to the developed world for assistance as it developed its nuclear power programme, so that that clean source of electrical power could be exploited in an energy starved country.  While nuclear power had been the mainstay of Pakistan’s effort, the country had also developed programmes around application of ionizing radiation and radioisotopes for the well-being of its people in agriculture and medicine.

Continuing, he pointed out that alongside the inception of its atomic energy development programme, Pakistan had recognized that ensuring nuclear safety and security was of vital importance.  Thus the country continuously strove to follow existing international standards and practices and had based its national regulations on the Agency’s Nuclear Safety Standards.  In addition, the Agency’s guidance documents on the physical protection of facilities and materials, and on the safety and security of radioactive sources, were being used as a basis for inspection and enforcement.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, asserting that the country had maintained a good track record in Agency safeguards, and following international standards, was continuously improving controls over the export of goods, technologies and facilities.  He believed that the global non-proliferation regime had to be strengthened on the basis of moral, political and international commitments.

DONALD CAMP ( United States) said his delegation had co-sponsored the text and strongly supported all facets of the Agency’s work.  The United States wanted to cooperate with all Member States in such matters.

At the same time, he expressed reservations about the Agency’s adoption of GC(53)/RES/17 on Israeli nuclear capability, of which the current text takes note.  Any efforts to address the complexity at play in nuclear-related issues in the Middle East must be done in a comprehensive manner and in a non-politicized atmosphere.  The United States favored a multilateral approach to such international issues.  The United States was committed to working with other States to support the Agency in its dual mission of expanding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy while curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) supported the Agency’s report and the relevant resolution before the Assembly, saying he was concerned by actions that sought to undermine the IAEA’s legitimacy.  No other institution could assume its duties in nuclear matters.  On 24 September, the Security Council adopted resolution 1887 (2009) on non-proliferation.   Venezuela rejected any initiative that ignored or took legitimacy away from the multilateral disarmament system, which had been negotiated in various multilateral forums.

He said the Agency worked on basis of States’ inalienable right to develop peaceful uses of energy, in line with article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Any attempt to redefine such rights and obligations would undermine the system that the Treaty established.  He recognized the Agency’s laudable efforts to strengthen cooperation in areas like nuclear safety, safe transportation and nuclear waste management.  For its part, Venezuela had actively participated in cooperation mechanisms, notably the Regional Co-operative Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL) and the Tripartite Forum for the Promotion of Science and Technology.

Venezuela had benefited from such cooperation and various projects had taken place in that framework during the 2007-2008 biennium.  Recalling that Venezuela had been elected to the Agency’s Board of Governors for 2009-2011, he said his Government would help ensure that the Agency remained the single forum for jurisdiction over nuclear energy, especially in the area of nuclear non-proliferation.  He thanked Mr. ElBaradei for his service to the Agency, saying that Venezuela would also support the new Director General.

IBRAHIM O.A. DABBASHI ( Libya) commended the efforts of the Agency and its assistance in developing States to receive nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  Libya believed in the important role that the Agency played in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but expressed regret that that role had not become universal as it did not cover the oversight of the nuclear activities of nuclear States.  This was a shortcoming.  He hoped that the international community would review the Agency’s mandate so as to cover the oversight of nuclear activities with no exception, especially in the decrease of nuclear arsenals announced by countries that owned nuclear weapons.

Libya affirmed the need to bolster the Agency’s vital role as the only special authority responsible for verification and implementation of the safeguard arrangements.  The Agency was the international coordination centre for cooperation in the nuclear field and it should not have competition.   Libya urged the formation of nuclear-free zones and efforts to bolster these zones.  He was concerned that no progress had been made in making the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons.   Israel was obstinate in that area and it still refused to place its nuclear facilities under the Agency’s safeguards.  He called for the implementation of IAEA resolution GC(53)/Res/17.

Also speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, recalling that the draft took note of resolution GC(53)/RES/15, said that regrettably, the Agency had once again taken an unfair position by urging his country to implement relevant Security Council resolutions and return to talks without preconditions.  His Government categorically rejected such behaviour on the part of the Agency, which intentionally ignored the nature of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula and laid artificial obstacles in the way of solving the issue.  The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula was a direct product of the United States nuclear threat and hostile policy towards his country.  The threat, which started during the Korean War, had inflicted millions of Koreans to suffering.

He said the United States’ hostile policy had become so reckless that it sought to deprive, by force, his country of its right to explore and use outer space for peaceful purposes.  Though his country’s satellite launch was conducted pursuant to relevant international legal procedures, the United States had singled out that launch in the Security Council.  Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula had been based on the principle of sovereign equality, but the United States’ hostile acts had led to the breakdown of dialogue and pushed his Government to undertake countermeasures, including a second nuclear test.  The United States had pushed the situation “to the brink of war” by ignoring demands to conclude a peace treaty to replace the actual armistice and staging “nuclear war exercises” with his country as the target.

Likewise, the Agency’s indifference to such hostile acts had pushed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to possess nuclear weapons, reversed the situation on the peninsula and called into question the exercise of his country’s sovereign right could in no way be justified, he said.  His Government’s position remained unchanged to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, a prerequisite for which was the end of the United States’ hostile policy towards his country.  His Government had made it clear that it was ready to participate in multilateral talks, depending on the outcome of bilateral talks with the United States.

His country’s nuclear deterrence mission aimed purely to deter war by safeguarding peace –- of the Korean peninsula and the region –- against military attacks by the United States.  His Government was not pursuing a nuclear arms race and would fulfil its responsibilities regarding the management and use of nuclear weapons, and with regard to non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.  It fully supported States that aspired to a nuclear-weapons-free world, and reiterated that the Agency observe the principle of impartiality.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution on the “Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” (A/64/L.7) without a vote.

Action on Draft

Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of Israel expressed disappointment in this year’s IAEA General Conference.   Israel believed that meeting did not constructively address issues in the Middle East.  Unfortunately, at the Conference, States of that region had failed to demonstrate the necessary willingness to promote regional talks on the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone as demonstrated by the resolutions on the Middle East, including the one-sided text on the so-called “Israeli Nuclear Capabilities”.  That resolution had been adopted by a narrow majority, she said, adding that it sought to divert attention away from the blatant cases of non-compliance with NPT obligations by several Middle Eastern States.

It should be noted that prior to and during the Conference, Israel had exerted every effort to regain consensus on a “Middle East Package”.  Israel had trusted and hoped that the unfortunate circumstances which cast a dark shadow over the IAEA’s Conference’s handling of the resolutions pertaining to the Middle East would not repeat themselves next year.  Israel would continue to dedicate all its efforts to achieving a stable environment of peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.  He called on all neighbours to do the same.  Lastly, Israel disassociated itself from the reference in the report with regard to the so-called Israeli attack on the “Dir Azour” site in Syria.  That politically motivated reference contradicted a long-standing practice of Agency professionalism.

Statements on the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Opening the Assembly’s debate on the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, General Assembly President ALI ABDUSSALAM TREKI said the 400‑year‑long trade in humans was abhorrent and inhumane and represented the lowest point in the history of humanity.  “The horrific and dehumanizing nature of the slave trade, whereby captives were forced into detention and transported as human cargo and mere chattels across the Atlantic to the so-called New World constituted the worst form of human depravity on the part of the captors.”  He added that the great human disaster had engendered the destruction of human possibility and necessitated the redefining of the African humanity to the world.  It poisoned past, present and future relations with others who only saw Africans through stereotyping.

Although that horrendous act had been brought to an end, its consequences continued.  Indeed, racism lingered despite various declarations and conventions.  At today’s commemoration, he said it was necessary to resolve to take concrete steps to not only ensure that “dark aspect” of human history never resurfaced, but that its consequences were fully addressed.  Tangible efforts were needed to redress the imbalance caused by the slave trade.  In that regard, Member States might wish to support the voluntary fund established pursuant to resolution A/62/122 towards the realization of a permanent memorial in honour of the victims of slavery and slave trade.  Lastly, he applauded the unbelievable magnanimity and generosity of victims who managed to retain their humanity and the ability to forgive in the face of indescribable suffering and dehumanization.  

DELANO BART ( Saint Kitts and Nevis), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), introduced the draft resolution on the permanent memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade” (A/64/L.10).  He said the resolution contained some procedural updates and information on developments that had occurred over the past year.  The text served a dual purpose, recognizing the annual remembrance, as well as the initiative to erect a permanent memorial to honor the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, both endorsed by the Assembly.

The resolution included a new paragraph to highlight the fact that the initiative, both in terms of commemorative activities and the permanent memorial, complemented the work being done at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  He referred to the existing UNESCO International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, the UNESCO Slave Route Project.

He said that one of several initiatives to mobilize resources for the permanent memorial had been the appointment this past May of music impresario and philanthropist Russell Simmons as a Goodwill Ambassador.  An important element to move the entire project forward had been the launch of an international design competition to make it a truly global effort.  CARICOM believed that UNESCO could undertake that project on its behalf.  That delegation was prepared to mobilize resources for the initial phases of that exercise, while UNESCO would collect the pool of applications using its global network of field offices.

LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE (Zambia), speaking on behalf of the African Group, opened by conveying appreciation to the Member States of (CARICOM) for their “commitment and efforts to ensure that we reflected and examined the past injustices that had an adverse impact on our history.”  The slave trade had had a tragic impact on the African people and its continent and the scars remained.  Thus, it was the collective responsibility, and particularly that of Africans and people of African descent, to commemorate the abolition of slavery as part of its historical legacy in order to ensure that unfortunate event in humanity’s shared history was not forgotten and would never recur.

He said the African Group welcomed important initiatives since the issue had first been taken up by the Assembly, including the establishment of a committee of interested States to oversee the permanent memorial project, establishment of a Trust Fund for the Memorial, and the appointment of a Goodwill Ambassador to garner international attention on the dangers of slavery and its legacy.  Several countries had contributed to the Trust Fund for the Permanent Memorial and the African Group remained firmly committed to the project.

Regrettably, despite international efforts to develop a normative framework to guard against human rights abuses, there were challenges in the implementation of human rights instruments such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  Human trafficking, hate crimes, and sexual exploitation were emerging.  He reiterated the African Group’s support for the resolution, which would create awareness on issues relating to slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  “It is our sincere hope that more shall be done in the coming year to honour all those gallant victims of slave trade, the brave abolitionists and the collective international efforts that led to the abolition of slave trade and slavery,” he said.

ZOYA KOLONTAI ( Belarus) said the transatlantic slave trade had been a phenomenon due to the length of time it was carried out, its scope and its illegitimate nature.  There could be no doubt that the transatlantic slave trade had destroyed the languages and cultures of millions of Africans.   Belarus supported the Secretary-General’s report on the issue.

She stressed that the international community did not know enough about the long-term results and impacts of the slave trade.  Belarus supported the outreach programme led by the United Nations Department of Public Information, and welcomed the staging of many activities and events to that end.  Those would shed light on the history of slavery and stimulate a discussion of the slave trade.  She also supported the creation of a permanent memorial and the naming of a Goodwill Ambassador on the issue.

Millions of people were still enslaved 200 years later and people were taken from their homes and forced into sexual trafficking, she went on to say.  Belarus was working in partnership with groups that aimed to curb the trafficking in humans, including sexual trafficking, she said, urging the international community to participate in such efforts to contribute to eliminate that shameful modern form of slavery.

RAYMOND O. WOLFE (Jamaica), aligning himself with the statements made on behalf of the CARICOM, and of the African Group, said that although much had been said about the tragedy of slavery and its horrific nature, neither the grave humanitarian injustice of the pernicious system, nor the attendant human rights abuses, had ever been properly addressed at the global level.  Furthermore, the legacy of hatred, bigotry, racism, and prejudice, had, among other tings, given rise to the social and economic inequalities that existed in many countries today.

For those reasons, the intention of the Assembly was to secure continued international recognition and acknowledgement of the tragedy of slavery, which represented a dark period in the history of humankind, in order to educate and inform current and future generations about the causes, consequences and lessons of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.  He added that such actions would also inculcate new values in successive generations so that the historical tragedy was never repeated.

Continuing, he said that as Chair of the Committee established to oversee the initiative of erecting a permanent memorial at Headquarters, Jamaica had, during the course of 2009, focused on establishing the administrative framework and on mobilizing resources.  Against that background, the Committee concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, outlining a broad framework for collaboration with a view to implementing a decision to erect the permanent memorial, and agreed on a budget following lengthy consultations.  He further appealed to Member States to support the permanent memorial initiative within the context of UNESCO.

Concluding, he stated that the lingering consequences of the transatlantic slave trade continued to impact the descendants of the victims today, and which had far-reaching implications at the international level and therefore deserved global recognition.  Consequently, the placement of a memorial at the United Nations would be an appropriate symbol of what the Organization stood for –- the promotion and preservation of the dignity and worth of all human beings.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said the remembrance of the two‑hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade should remind the international community that a global consensus on the relevance of such a date was not enough.  It should work to achieve the genuine equality of rights.

The Brazilian Government had put into practice many of the measures contained in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  The promotion of racial equality was consistent in the basic features of Brazilian culture, as well as an integral part of its social and economic development process.  Special attention had been devoted to traditional Afro-Brazilian communities, the so-called “Quilombola” communities, with positive results in the promotion of their rights over the past few years.  Brazil appreciated the Secretary-General’s report and the Secretariat’s contribution in promoting the initiative of a permanent memorial at the United Nations to acknowledge the tragedy of slavery.

Brazil recognized the Jamaican delegation’s work in the matter and the creation, since 2008, of 25 March as an annual International Day of Remembrance.   Brazil was fully committed to ongoing efforts to create a new Trust Fund for International Partnerships.  Brazil hoped this Assembly would continue to play a prominent role in advising future generations of the consequences, lessons and legacy of the transatlantic slave trade and the dangers of racism and prejudice.

PEDRO NÚÑEZ ( Cuba) said that the sad history of the slave trade could not be justified or ignored.  In Cuba, he could clearly see the tracks of the slave trade, which had been born of greed and colonizing will.  Five centuries ago, 1,300,000 people came from sub-Saharan Africa to Cuba.  Thus, the identity of the Cuban people was a process of “trans-culturalization,” which had come from the various African ethnic groups to the colonial society of that time.  Thus, he said Cubans were proud of their roots -- a mix of Spain and Africa, “a cultural wealth”.

He said that the Africans had enriched the island nation with their music, beliefs, warm nature, as well as with the rebelliousness of those who rose from exploitation, escaped and became runaways.  The daring of those runaways had nourished the independent spirit of the Cubans.  The people of Cuba were a mix of valour and a culture of resistance of Africans who fought through centuries of challenges.  The slave route was part of the impoverishment and discrimination of Africans.  He said that the former colonial capitals needed to pay, and that Europeans could not disassociate themselves from their past by promoting “historical amnesia”, especially in light of lingering underdevelopment in some parts of the world.

He welcomed the role of UNESCO on educating people on slavery.  Lastly, he said that shortly after the Cuban revolution in 1959, the country had paid its debt to hundreds of thousands who fought for sovereignty.  Today, Cuba contributed its human capital and experience with many African countries.  In an integrated health programme, almost 1,200 Cuban doctors were working in African countries.  Cuban universities had 1,200 youth from Africa.  Almost 32,000 Africans had graduated from Cuban universities.  He concluded Africa needed solidarity and respect from everyone.  Thus, Cuba supported the draft resolution.

WELLINGTON WEBB ( United States) said that his delegation was a proud co-sponsor of the resolution in support of the initiative to erect a permanent memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

Alluding to his country’s historical struggle to eradicate slavery, he pointed out that even after the ratification of the relevant parts of the United States Constitution that had finally brought slavery to an end, the country still continued to fight the consequences and vestiges of slavery many years afterwards.

He said the United States remained committed to continuing that progress and to the education of youth on the history to end slavery and to honour those who had worked so tirelessly to end what he called this “despicable” practice, and for that reason, he was happy to co-sponsor the resolution before the Assembly.

FRANCISCO SARDINHA (India) welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on the programme of educational outreach on the transatlantic slave trade and slavery, and added it was one of the greatest scars on the history of nations.  “For a man to enslave another is truly a crime of the highest degree.  It is therefore imperative that we commemorate the great struggles and battles that have been fought to get rid of this scourge,” he said.  Indians understood the agony and degradation, as they had been colonized and forced to endure indentured servitude.

The slave trade ravaged African and Caribbean nations to satisfy the rapacious economic greed and exploitation of the colonizers.  The effects of the violence were visible today.

Thus, the international community needed to take a first step in the right direction and pay homage to the victims of slavery and the slave trade.  “We are humbled to be part of this initiative to erect a memorial in honour of the various victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.  The permanent memorial would be a small commemoration for the millions of victims who suffered silently with no hope of freedom,” he said.  The memorial would be a hallmark to pay respect and a reminder for the international community to raise awareness about relevant issues that surrounded the great evil of slavery. He welcomed the establishment of the Committee led by Caribbean and African countries to oversee the memorial, and recognized the importance of education of current and future generations about slavery.

The Assembly then deferred action on draft resolution A/64/L/10 on the transatlantic slave trade.

Introduction and Action on Draft on International Criminal Court

Introducing the resolution on the report of the International Criminal Court (A/64/L.9), HERMAN SCHAPER ( Netherlands) noted the work of that judicial body included in the fifth annual survey of its work.  He said the creation of the Court had been the most significant event in the last decade towards the eradication of impunity.  He was pleased to welcome the countries that had become parties to it, Chile and Czech Republic, and he hoped that all Member States would become Parties.

He said one of the biggest obstacles facing the Court was the lack of arrest and surrender of the defendants, and that attention to the relocation of victims was also very important.  He was pleased with the United Nations work with the Court and welcomed the assistance by the States Parties.  The resolution served three main objectives:  to provide political support for the Court’s work, to underline the importance of the relations between the Court and the United Nations, and show the need for the international community to work with the Court. He hoped the resolution could be adopted by Consensus.

Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of the United States said she was not in position at this time to join in the adoption of the resolution before the Assembly, explaining that if the vote had been called on the resolution, the United States would have abstained.

She emphasized, however, that the United States remained steadfastly committed to the promotion of the rule of law and helping to bring violators of international humanitarian law to justice, wherever the violations occurred, and would continue to play a leadership role in righting those wrongs.  “As we have emphasized, we cannot ignore the terrible crimes that have occurred in places like Darfur and the massive human suffering that the world has witnessed,” she declared.

In explanation of position after action, Libya joined the consensus, keeping in mind “the general trend of the majority of the Member States.”  Despite that, Libya reaffirmed its position on the Rome Statue and its reservations with regard to its contents.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution A/64/L.9 supporting the work of the International Criminal Court.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.