|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
GENERAL ASSEMBLY REAFFIRMS STRONG SUPPORT FOR INDISPENSABLE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL
ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, AS DIRECTOR GENERAL MOHAMED ELBARADEI PRESENTS ANNUAL REPORT
Surging Energy Demand, Climate Change, Drive Nuclear Power ‘Renaissance’, Says
ElBaradei, Calling for ‘Nuclear Fuel Bank’ to Help Energy-Poor, Curb Proliferation
Amid several calls to increase awareness of the potential for nuclear material to fall into the hands of terrorists, and to recognize the central importance of development for achieving energy security, General Assembly delegates this afternoon adopted by consensus a resolution reaffirming their support for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in encouraging the practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses.
By the text, States took note of various resolutions containing measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear safety, and protect against nuclear and radiological terrorism. In that context, they strongly supported the Agency’s “indispensable” role in technology transfer to developing countries, as well as in nuclear safety, verification and security.
Presenting the Agency’s annual report, Director General Mohammed ElBaradei said nuclear power “is undergoing something of a renaissance”, a remarkable development, given that just 10 years ago its future globally looked uncertain amid safety fears. Today, nuclear power was seen as offering part of the solution to surging energy demand, as well as concerns about climate change. With 439 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, safety was much better than in years past.
However, one implication of a nuclear renaissance was the spread of nuclear material to many more countries, he said, which increased the risks of diverting that material for nuclear weapons development. Countries that had mastered uranium enrichment and plutonium separation had become “de facto nuclear weapons capable States”, meaning they could develop nuclear weapons in a very short time, should they walk out of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
As security perceptions could change rapidly, there was a need to think seriously about multinational control over the fuel cycle, he explained. An ideal scenario would start with a “nuclear fuel bank”, under which the IAEA would administer a nuclear-fuel reserve. Next, it should be agreed that all new enrichment and reprocessing activities be placed exclusively under multilateral control, with all existing facilities ultimately converted from national to multilateral control.
“This is a bold agenda”, he said, but such measures were vital to halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The number of incidents reported to the Agency involving the theft or loss of nuclear or radioactive material was “disturbingly high”, and it was equally troubling that much of that material was not subsequently recovered.
Turning to country-specific matters, he said that, while substantial progress had been made to clarify outstanding issues regarding Iran, he regretted that the Agency could not achieve “full clarity” regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. He urged Iran to implement all transparency measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. The IAEA did not wish to “pry” into Iran’s conventional or missile-related activities. “Our focus is clearly on nuclear material and activities”, he added.
To that point, the representative of Iran said his country’s nuclear programme “has been, is, and will remain, completely peaceful”. Iran considered the development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes its inalienable right and had invested extensive human and material resources in the field of nuclear power. All reports issued by the IAEA since November 2003 bore witness to its peaceful nature. All outstanding safeguard implementation issues had been resolved and closed, he said.
Other speakers pointed out that enhancing peace in the Middle East required the creation of a regional nuclear-weapon-free zone that would see Israel become party to both the NPT and its Additional Protocol. Sudan’s representative said the development of such a zone -- a principle of the global peace and security system -– was being hampered by the refusal of Israel, the only nuclear-weapon State in that region, to place its system under the Agency’s safeguards.
Given that situation, Kuwait’s representative called on States to pressure Israel to join the NPT and subject all its nuclear facilities to the safeguard regime. All countries in the region had a right to obtain the technology, know-how and needed expertise to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, within the framework of relevant international conventions.
As to the Agency’s future, the representative of Malaysia said upcoming work should be based on the “fundamental bargain” underlying the NPT -- the inalienable right of all States parties to research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination -– and he urged respect for each country’s choice in such matters. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation concerns should be addressed through multilaterally negotiated agreements, and nuclear-weapon control arrangements should be open to participation by all States.
Speaking in explanation of position before action on the resolution, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stressed that in that text, the IAEA had not quit “its prejudiced and unfair position vis-à-vis the Korean Peninsula”. Indeed, the Agency had disregarded his country’s sincere efforts to resolve that issue. Unless the Agency took an impartial position in resolving problems, any activities or resolutions adopted by it would not solve the nuclear issue.
For such reasons, his delegation strongly rejected the text, and would closely watch the Agency’s position regarding the nuclear issue. Further, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had honoured all its commitments reached at
the talks, and if other parties would fulfil their obligations, the denuclearization process could advance smoothly.
In other business, the Assembly appointed representatives from the Congo, France, Malaysia, Mozambique, Philippines and the Russian Federation members of the Committee on Conferences for three-year terms, beginning 1 January 2009. Those appointments were made after consultations with the Chairmen of the Groups of African States, Asian States, Eastern European States and Western European and Other States. The Assembly President would continue to hold consultations with the Latin American and Caribbean States to discuss the remaining vacant seats from that group.
The Assembly decided to postpone until its sixty-fourth session consideration of its agenda item on implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations.
Also speaking today on the IAEA report were the representatives of Algeria, France, Brazil, Cuba, Switzerland, Belarus, South Africa, China, Russian Federation, Egypt, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Japan, Philippines, Angola, Ethiopia, Thailand, Ukraine, Republic of Korea and Benin.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m., Wednesday, 29 October, to take up matters related to the necessity of ending the commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.
The General Assembly met today to take up the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It also planned to elect 20 members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination, appoint members of the Committee on Conferences, and take up the issue of implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations.
Before the Assembly is the 2007 Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency(document GC(52)/9), the latest account of the Agency’s work under the three pillars of its mandate to monitor the technology, safety and verification of nuclear use among nations.
As 2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Agency’s founding, the report reaffirms the IAEA as the concrete expression of the international community’s hopes and expectations for the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology, as articulated by United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1953 “Atoms for Peace” speech in the Assembly. Five decades later, its activities remain vital to maximizing the use of nuclear technology for economic and social development, and preventing its misuse for non-peaceful ends.
The report reviews major developments in the areas of the applications of peaceful nuclear technology; global nuclear safety, and the security of nuclear and radiological material and facilities; and the verification of compliance with nuclear non-proliferation undertakings. It notes that continuing population growth and longer human life spans are creating challenges for energy supply, human health, food security, water availability, resource conservation and environmental protection. Through its nuclear power, nuclear applications and technical cooperation programmes, the Agency is assisting Member States in addressing such challenges.
Nearly every aspect of development -- from reducing poverty to improving health care -- requires reliable access to modern energy services, the report states. Faced with a growing shortfall of energy supplies and rising fossil fuel prices, many countries are now looking to nuclear power as a way to increase the diversity of their energy supplies. A factor driving the renewed interest in nuclear power is that it emits almost no greenhouse gases, according to the report.
Noting that technological innovation is a key factor in ensuring the long-term sustainability of nuclear power, the report highlights the fact that for nuclear power to be a feasible option in countries and regions with small electricity grids, the design and production of safe, and affordable, small and intermediate size reactors will be essential.
While safety and security are primarily national responsibilities, failure can have far-reaching consequences beyond national borders, and the Agency continues to support efforts for the safe and secure use of nuclear technology, the report states. On management of radioactive waste and decommissioning, there is growing international interest in the establishment of comprehensive national radioactive waste management policies and implementation strategies to ensure the appropriate management and safe disposal of all radioactive waste. Specifically on nuclear security, the report notes that various trafficking and other security-related incidents in 2007 served as a forceful reminder of the need to continue addressing the security of nuclear and other radioactive material.
The report says that the Agency’s verification programme is at the core of multilateral efforts to curb nuclear weapons proliferation. In 2007, the Agency applied safeguards for 163 States under its oversight. Eighty-two States have both Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols in force; for 47 of them, the Agency concluded that all nuclear material remains in peaceful activities. For 78 States with Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements in force, but no Additional Protocols, the Agency concludes that declared nuclear material remains in peaceful nuclear activities.
In addition, following agreement in the “Six-Party Talks” process, the Agency reached agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on monitoring and verification arrangements related to the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, and confirmed the shutdown status of those installations.
On the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(NPT) safeguards agreement in Iran, and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007), the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear material in Iran in 2007. However, the report notes that the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.
By the end of 2007, the Agency was able to clarify some of the outstanding safeguards issues relating to Iran’s past nuclear activities. Contrary to Security Council decisions, Iran did not suspend its uranium enrichment-related activities and continued its heavy water-related projects, the report added.
The Assembly also had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/63/276), transmitting the Agency’s Report. The note stated that only a limited number of copies of the report are available, and requested that delegations therefore have copies transmitted to them during discussion of the agenda item.
Also before the Assembly is a note by the Secretary-General on the election of 20 members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (document A/63/312), by which he states that the Assembly, at its sixty-third session, will be called upon to elect 20 members, on the nomination of the Economic and Social Council, to fill the vacancies in the Committee that will occur on 31 December 2008.
Another note by the Secretary-General is on the appointment of members of the Committee on Conferences (document A/63/107), which states that, by resolution 43/222 B (1988), the Assembly decided that the Committee on Conferences should be composed of 21 members to be appointed by the Assembly President, after consultations with the chairmen of the regional groups, for a period of three years, on the basis of the following geographical distribution: six members from African States; five members from Asian States; four members from Latin American and Caribbean States; two members from Eastern European States; and four members from Western European and other States.
Statement by Director General
Presenting his agency’s latest report, MOHAMED ELBARADEI, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the Assembly was meeting at a time of heightened anxiety, amid concern about nuclear weapons proliferation and the possibility of extremist groups attaining nuclear or radioactive material. The Agency’s work was at the nexus of development and security.
Turning first to the issue of technical cooperation, he said IAEA’s role as a development agency “is as important as anything else we do”, and partnerships with agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) provided people with access to clean drinking water, among other things. As surging food prices had pushed millions deeper into poverty over the past year, the global community had a responsibility to ensure that people and communities were not cut off from technologies that would accelerate economic development.
On nuclear power, he said it was understandable that many developing countries should see nuclear power as a key energy source needed to lift people out of poverty. “Nuclear power is undergoing something of a renaissance,” -– a remarkable development, he said, noting that just 10 years ago, its future globally looked uncertain, amid safety fears. Today, nuclear power was seen as offering part of the solution to surging energy demand, as well as concerns about climate change.
Noting that there were 439 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries and 36 new plants under construction, he said the Agency had advised countries considering the introduction of nuclear power, and had impressed upon them the need to plan property, build infrastructure and establish independent regulators. Above all, the Agency underscored States’ primary responsibility to ensure safety and security. While safety was much better than 10 years ago, “we can never be complacent”, he added.
One implication of a “nuclear renaissance” was the spread of nuclear material to many more countries, he said, which increased the risks of diverting that material for nuclear weapons development. Countries that mastered uranium enrichment and plutonium separation had become “de facto nuclear-weapons-capable States”, meaning they could develop nuclear weapons in a “very short time”, if they walked out of the NPT Treaty.
As security perceptions could change very rapidly, there was a need to think seriously about some form of multinational control over the fuel cycle, he said, which should provide assurance that every country had guaranteed access to a nuclear fuel supply that would not be interrupted for political reasons. An ideal scenario would be to start with a nuclear fuel bank under IAEA auspices. Next, it should be agreed that all new enrichment and reprocessing activities be placed exclusively under multilateral control, with all existing facilities ultimately converted from national to multilateral control.
“This is a bold agenda,” he said, but such measures were vital to halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons. However, “any mechanism that smacks of inequality or dependency will never get off the ground,” he added. The number of incidents reported to the Agency involving the theft or loss of nuclear or radioactive material was “disturbingly high”, and it was equally troubling that much of that material was not subsequently recovered.
On nuclear verification, he said there were shortcomings in the areas of adequate legal authority, state-of-the-art technology, timely access to all relevant information and sufficient resources. Without safeguards agreements, the Agency could not provide any assurance about a State’s nuclear activities; without additional protocols, it could not provide credible assurance on the absence of undeclared nuclear material. In addition, he hoped that conditions could be created for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the NPT soon and for the Agency to resume relevant comprehensive safeguards.
Turning to Iran, he said substantial progress had been made to clarify outstanding issues, including the nature of its enrichment activities. However, he regretted the Agency was not in a position to achieve “full clarity” regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, as it had not made progress on “the so-called alleged studies and associated questions relevant to the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme”. He urged Iran to implement, at an early date, all the transparency measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Further, the IAEA did not wish to “pry” into Iran’s conventional or missile-related activities. “Our focus is clearly on nuclear material and activities,” he said.
Turning next to the report of the independent Commission of Eminent Persons, which he appointed last year, he noted that the body had urged the Agency to give high priority to establishing multilateral fuel cycle arrangements and had significantly expanded its technical cooperation programme. States should negotiate binding agreements to set effective global nuclear security standards. Further, the Agency should lead an international effort to establish a global nuclear safety network, and strengthen safeguards activities. On the safeguards issue, he noted that nuclear disarmament had been on the “back burner” for far too long.
In closing, he underscored that the funds proposed by the Commission for measures to enhance the Agency’s effectiveness were modest. Political commitments to the Agency’s goals needed to be renewed at the highest level, to encourage the transfer of nuclear technology to the developing world. The Agency could do much to address the world’s problems, if given the authority, technology and resources.
Introduction of Draft Resolution
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) introduced the draft resolution on the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (document A/63/L.6), and thanked all sponsors listed in the document and the upcoming addendum. He noted that the list of sponsors remained open. The draft resolution reflected a broad consensus among the Agency’s Member States reached during previous consultations in Vienna. It was a simple, concise and factual text, based on the resolution the Assembly adopted by consensus at its sixty-second session. The proposed resolution took note of the Agency’s annual report and the resolutions adopted by the IAEA General Conference, held in Vienna from 29 September to 4 October 2008.
The text also reaffirmed strong support for the Agency’s indispensable role in encouraging the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful purposes and in technology transfer to development countries, as well as in verification, nuclear safety and security. The resolution requested that Member States continued to support the Agency’s work. He hoped the Assembly would adopt the draft without a vote, as it had in previous session.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said his delegation supported the draft resolution, as it reflected broad agreement among States in the Agency. He hoped it would be adopted by consensus. Noting that verification, safety and nuclear applications were “more topical than ever”, he said he was deeply attached to those pillars of the Agency’s work, as they contributed significantly to promoting peace. His delegation fully supported the Agency’s work, as it remained the best forum for discussing the peaceful use of nuclear energy and played a crucial role in nuclear verification. The European Union supported the Fund for Nuclear Safety and invited all States to contribute to it. He urged all States of the IAEA to implement all commitments on safeguards agreements.
Continuing, he called on all States to sign and implement safeguards agreements and additional protocols. He supported the Agency’s activities in areas of nuclear verification. Strengthening States’ ability to track radioactive matter was a key area of cooperation between the European Union and the Agency. The role of the code of conduct, adopted in 2003, was of particular importance. The Union respected that code and urged all countries to declare their willingness to respect that procedure.
Noting the Agency’s crucial role in the area of combating terrorism, he regretted that more than 100 States still needed to sign additional protocols and urged the Agency to reduce the risks associated with nuclear activities. In that regard, it was time to develop specific measures in relation to multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle. He called for reducing the need to invest in complex and costly cycle technologies. In closing, he said the European Union was considering contributing to the Nuclear Fuel Bank project.
Calling the Agency a crucial multilateral forum dedicated to the promotion of peaceful uses of atomic energy, LUIZ FILIPE DE MACEDO SOARES (Brazil) spoke on behalf of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) and associated States, expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Agency to define its future activities, especially in the creation of the “Commission of Eminent Persons”, which analyzed the evolutionary needs affecting its work and functions through 2020 and beyond. The Commission’s value would lead to a better understanding of future challenges and topics which Member States would discuss and, thus, help determine priorities of the Agency’s future activities. He also noted the increasing importance of the Agency’s efforts towards safeguards activities. MERCOSUR believed that was “one of the Agency’s statutory pillars” and should not weaken its promotional functions.
He went on to express concern over the compliance by NPT States parties to obligations in nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. States maintained the inalienable right to develop peaceful nuclear energy uses under the NPT, and any attempt to redefine the “delicate balance” of rights and obligations, especially questioning the legitimate aspirations of Member States to peaceful technological development, might contribute to a weakening of the multilateral disarmament framework. To that end, MERCOSUR expressed support for the Agency’s authority as the competent body on compliance verification with safeguards agreement obligations.
He stressed the need for deep analysis, by all Member States, of the “assurances of supply of nuclear fuel” and the Agency’s possible role in this issue, and noted the “imperative” nature of not allowing that concept to weaken rights within the NPT, nor the delicate balance of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime. He highlighted the importance of technical cooperation and assistance in the multilateral field, through active participation of the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme and the Co-operation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as efforts by the Agency and Member States in strengthening international cooperation in nuclear and radiological security, transport and waste management.
On Brazil’s part, he noted the common system of control and accountability by the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, and cooperation between that Agency and the IAEA. He also expressed support for IAEA efforts in strengthening nuclear science and technology, “nucleoelectric” development, and contribution to key issues of concern to Members States, in areas such as agriculture, human health, energy production and environmental protection. He also recognized the Secretariat’s efforts to provide options for the final geological disposition of high activity waste, long-term waste and used fuel, since such management of used fuel and waste continued to be a challenge in light of the growing use of “nucleoelectric” energy.
GEORGINA CHABAU ( Cuba) recognized the essential role of the IAEA’s technical cooperation efforts, especially in enabling the application of nuclear technologies and sciences for social and economic development. She called for the strengthening of the Agency’s technical cooperation pillar, and said that it must be given the necessary resources “unconditionally and according to its priority”. As an example, she highlighted the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy and treatment as evidence of benefits of nuclear technology essential to the population. Such programmes needed resources for effective implementation.
Cuba’s strong commitment to the promotion of IAEA technical cooperation activities was explained through its nuclear technologies, which were applied in vital areas such as public health care, agriculture, food, hydrology and environmental protection. Last year, Cuba met its financial obligations to the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund, and it implemented 90 per cent of national projects, and provided 30 international experts and 11 professors.
However, she stressed the adverse effects of the “illegal and criminal, economic commercial and financial blockade” imposed by the United States for the past five decades on Cuba’s commitment and capacity to actively participate under the important IAEA technical cooperation pillar, which had caused the country to lose over $93 billion, as of December 2007. That “criminal policy” had led to continued difficulties for Cuba to acquire important equipment in technical cooperation projects, as well as to the denial of visas for Cuban specialists, which has prevented those experts from participating in IAEA technical meetings in the United States.
A balance amongst all the fields of the IAEA mandate must be kept, she continued, stressing that any pretension to favour the rest of the pillars to the detriment of the technical cooperation pillar, which required stable and predictable resources. She went on to note that Cuba would actively participate in the consideration of the Report on the role of the IAEA through 2020 and beyond. Indeed, Cuba was convinced that the elaboration of the Agency’s vision for the future must be the outcome of a “comprehensive and deep” process of analysis, which included active participation from all Member States.
She said that Cuba rejected the use of nuclear fuel supply as a means of economic coercion or to lead to a monopoly by a few countries over its distribution. Cuba also rejected the imposition of safeguards obligations on some States, beyond their legal commitments.
Radiation safety was of great importance to Cuba, she continued and added that the country continued to develop the infrastructure and staff training necessary in this field. Cuba was proud of its non-proliferation outcomes, reflected in the Report submitted to the IAEA Board of Governors. She also highlighted the fact that Cuba had been listed among the group of 47 countries in which the IAEA did not find diversion of declared nuclear materials or indications of non-declared nuclear materials or activities, only four years after Cuba ratified the NPT, Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and the Additional Protocol.
Finally, she called for the Agency to carry out impartial and unbiased verification activities, and for it to reject any pressure, improper interference or selective implementation of the NPT regime. Indeed the inalienable right of States, including Iran, to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes within the terms of their legal obligations, must be strictly respected. Cuba stressed the need for supporting nuclear disarmament as the highest priority in the field of disarmament, noting that the “mere existence” of nuclear weapons, and doctrines prescribing their possession and use, posed a “serious danger to international peace and security”.
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE ( Iran) said the NPT had reaffirmed the Agency’s important objective and recognized the inalienable right of all NPT States parties to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Under article IV of that Treaty, States parties had undertaken to facilitate the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials, and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. However, nuclear cooperation between suppliers and recipients had been beset by restrictions, obstacles and disruptions. The “nuclear haves” had hampered the access of NPT developing members to nuclear power technology under the pretext of non-proliferation concerns.
To remedy that shortcoming, the IAEA could, and should, play a decisive role by vigorously pursuing a balanced and non-discriminatory application of the provisions of the NPT and the Agency’s own safeguards. Attempts to politicize the work of the Agency, including its Technical Cooperation Programme, were in violation of the IAEA Statutes.
Turning to Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, he said Iran considered the development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes its inalienable right, and had invested extensive human and material resources in the field of nuclear power. As Iran had repeatedly stressed, its nuclear programme “has been, is, and would remain, completely peaceful”. All reports issued by the IAEA since November 2003 bore witness to its peaceful nature. All outstanding safeguards implementation issues had been resolved and closed. Naturally, according to the modality agreed in the work plan, the implementation of safeguards in Iran had to become normalized. Observance by the Agency’s Secretariat of the mutual understanding, as reflected in the agreed work plan, was key.
Undoubtedly, the move to bring the Iranian nuclear file to the Security Council, and the intention of the co-sponsors of the resolutions adopted in the Council so far, were derived from ulterior motives and narrow national considerations, in order to deprive the Iranian people of their inalienable rights. In that regard, the demand for suspension of enrichment was illegal and in contravention of the provisions of the NPT. “ Iran will never accept illegal demands,” he said.
Iran had already demonstrated its determination to negotiations, without preconditions, to find solutions by presenting various offers including, its “Proposed Package for Constructive Negotiations” to the 5+1 Group in May 2008. The Group had yet to provide its response. The policy of a few powers in insisting on suspension as a precondition for negotiations bore “zero relation” to current realities, and was an irrational and failed policy. Instead of applying economic leverage and political pressure, a solution that was based on reality, common concerns and obligations should be pursued as an alternative.
ANDREAS BAUM ( Switzerland) said his country was pleased to again co-sponsor the draft resolution before the Assembly and hoped the report would be adopted by consensus. As Dr. ElBaradei had said in September, at the beginning of the IAEA General Conference, the Agency was at a crossroads. Two important issues had emerged since the last Assembly session to highlight that perspective. First, the report by the Commission of Eminent Persons -- headed by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo -- on the Agency’s future, stressed that progress in the area of nuclear disarmament was indispensable to advance the guarantee agenda.
Secondly, the decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group to waive the application of generalized guarantees as a condition of nuclear cooperation with India, had undoubtedly created new challenges for the application of the IAEA system of generalized guarantees, including the Additional Protocol. It was necessary to acknowledge that the non-proliferation regime, as known today, had reached a turning point, and reflection was needed to create the appropriate basis to achieve the goal of universal non-proliferation.
Those two aspects were closely linked, and it was necessary to be careful that recent developments did not complicate the Agency’s increasing challenge to balance its activities in the area of cooperation of nuclear technology, with the control of peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
ANDREI DAPKIUNAS ( Belarus) said his delegation was satisfied that the Agency was striving to ensure that nuclear energy was used for exclusively peaceful purposes. Its activities were marked by high-level professionalism, and there was a need to strengthen its status.
For its part, Belarus was set to build its first national peaceful programme, he said, noting that factors impacting its decision had included the need to reduce carbon emissions, and the competitiveness of nuclear energy. The country was adopting legislation in the nuclear field, and work was underway to choose a construction site.
Belarus was interested in the “closest cooperation” with the Agency, as such technical and expert cooperation was critically important. Belarus gave priority attention to nuclear safety, and was interested in the safe and reliable operation of nuclear facilities. Belarus was familiar with the possible consequences of the absence of appropriate safety measures, as it had suffered more than others from the Chernobyl disaster. He expected the Agency’s active participation in implementing United Nations plans for rehabilitation of contaminated areas, he said.
Further, Belarus advocated diversifying energy sources and supplies, including through alternative energy sources, he said. That would ensure responsible cooperation at the international level. There was a need to ensure all States’ access to energy-saving technologies, and he proposed, during the Assembly’s current session, a thematic debate on that subject. He welcomed the Agency’s initiative to create a global energy organization, and agreed that coordinated actions were needed in the fields of social development, climate change and poverty reduction.
International mechanisms must take into account the NPT Treaty, he said, noting the need for non-discriminatory access to nuclear energy. Given the global challenges, the NPT and Agency’s roles were ever more important, and he urged improving the Agency’s safeguards activities. Belarus had reaffirmed its commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The country had created export control systems and as a member of the Group of Nuclear Suppliers, agreed with that group’s principles. On disarmament, he noted the need to create an environment that allowed for States’ rights to peaceful nuclear activities.
LESLIE GUMBI ( South Africa) acknowledged the great gains South Africa had achieved through its participation in the Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, and called for the IAEA to continue its support for that program. The Agency was a crucial component in States efforts to achieve their Millennium Development Goals through their encouragement of nuclear technologies in expanded food-source plant breeding, insect control programmes, isotope hydrology and life-saving medical procedures, among others. He urged the Agency to continue to support, train and assist Member States in expanding their own peace-based nuclear energy programs.
However, he spoke of his concern for the slow progress in accessions and ratifications in the area of nuclear safety, and noted how much South Africa benefited from the Agency’s training courses, workshops and assistance in developing its own strengthening of security of nuclear and other radioactive materials. The institution of nuclear safety was paramount to international stability and the facilitation of peaceful nuclear applications. To that end, he called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran to cooperate and implement the NPT safeguards agreements, and he requested Member States to join him in cooperating with the Agency as well. “Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are two sides of one coin and are mutually reinforcing,” he said.
Stating the need for continued and increased funding of the Agency’s technical cooperation projects, he concluded with a reminder that such programmes were essential to ensure the success and expansion of peace-based nuclear technology, and reiterated that supporting the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Fund were “important building blocks to achieve the Millennium Development Goals as well as the implementation of the projects of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) more especially in the areas of water security and the combating of disease, hunger and poverty.”
OMAR ORKELDEEN ( Sudan) attached a special importance to state-of-the-art technological applications in the fields of food security and insect control, both of which were necessary for large-scale agricultural projects. He hoped Sudan would continue to enjoy cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the WHO within that framework.
In addition, he hoped the Agency would continue its sanitation projects to combat insects, which was important for fighting diseases in Africa. Underscoring States’ inalienable right to engage in nuclear activities for peaceful purposes, he urged refraining from politicization of such issues, and addressing problems in a fair and equitable manner.
He said the development of nuclear-weapon-free zones was a principle of the global peace and security system, yet the Middle East was far from achieving such a zone, as Israel -- the only nuclear-weapons State in that region -- refused to place its system under Agency’s safeguards. Israel’s commitment to the NPT and the Additional Protocol would strengthen regional peace. Turning to Africa, he welcomed the Agency’s increased budget and called for finding additional resources to devote to Africa.
TALAL ZAID ABDULLAH AL AZEMI (Kuwait) said that since it had joined the NPT in 1986, Kuwait had concentrated on cooperating with the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Administration, implementing a set of projects to build its own capacity, and created special laboratories to measure the level of radio active isotopes in its water and soil.
He affirmed the information in the Agency’s 2007 annual report on the need to expand Member States’ capabilities to use nuclear technologies to enhance sustainable food security. That could include technology to treat the deterioration of the soil, increase crop output and livestock production, combat the pestilence of insects by using sterile insect technology, and improve the quality and safety of food. The Agency’s efforts to achieve sustainable food security, particularly in the face of the food crisis, should be consolidated.
The Agency’s role to prevent the use of nuclear power for military purposes and exploit its use for peaceful purposes could not be fulfilled without the efforts of all States. To that end, he noted that the Supreme Council of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council had recommended carrying out a study by its member countries to create a joint programme in the field of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, according to international standards and regimes.
He regretted that some states with nuclear activities did not heed the Agency’s calls to join the NPT and implement its safeguards. Peace and stability in the Middle East could never be accomplished, as long as Israel remained the only country in the region that refused to subject its facilities to the safeguards regime of the IAEA, he said. In view of this Israeli intransigence, Kuwait demanded that the international community pressure Israel to join the NPT and subject all of its nuclear facilities to the safeguards regime. He affirmed the right of all States in the region to obtain the technology, know-how and needed expertise to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, within the framework of relevant international conventions.
Turning to Iran, Kuwait called upon Iran to continue its cooperation with the Agency on transparency, in order to dispel the fears and doubts surrounding the nature of its nuclear programme, to address all outstanding issues, and give diplomacy time to secure a peace solution.
WANG QUN (China) recognized positive progress in the IAEA’s work in promoting the peaceful uses in nuclear energy, including through its assistance to Member States with nuclear power and nuclear applications, and its technical cooperation programmes to face challenges in the fields of energy supply, food security and environmental protection. The Agency had also played a pivotal role in safeguarding the peaceful use of nuclear materials and facilities, and in the prevention of nuclear weapon proliferation, especially in the peaceful resolution of nuclear issues regarding the Korean peninsula, as well as in Iran.
Recognizing the strong momentum in international nuclear power development, he highlighted the importance of the peaceful promotion of nuclear energy while preventing the proliferation of such weapons, which bore on the Agency’s future orientation. He urged further enhancements of the role and function of the Agency, including in its expertise, so that it could better assist Member States in establishing nuclear power and application infrastructure, and in the acceleration of the pace and broadening of the scope of nuclear energy peaceful uses; strengthening its nuclear safety regulatory system and continued assistance to Member States to establish sound, effective nuclear security systems; continued impartial and balanced verification issues, with work on the effectiveness and efficiency of its safeguards system.
He noted that China had always actively supported and participated in IAEA technical cooperation programmes, and had worked closely with the Agency as well as with relevant Member States on such matters. He recalled the “very fruitful” cooperation on nuclear security between China and the Agency during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, when IAEA experts had been sent for consulting and training purposes, along with much-needed nuclear detection equipment. He expressed sincere appreciation to the IAEA which, after the Sichuan earthquake in May, provided China with radioactive material detection equipment and relevant training for the radioactive-based search operations, through its Technical Cooperation Programme.
VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said his country consistently stood for promoting the Agency’s role and would continue to actively support its activities. Improving the Agency’s work should be based on a well-balanced approach to implementing all its mandated functions. The main near-term task was to ensure conditions under which all States parties to the NPT could make free and full use of the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy.
The Russian Federation would continue to support the Agency’s Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles project, and would actively back the Agency’s role in promoting multilateral approaches. His Government had worked to create a global nuclear energy infrastructure that would allow equitable access for all interested parties to nuclear energy, in line with the nuclear arms non-proliferation regime. In 2007, the Russian Federation had developed an international uranium enrichment centre, in cooperation with Kazakhstan. Acceding procedures were being finalized for Armenia and Ukraine, he added.
The time had come to consider harmonized approaches to assured fuel supplies, he said, and the Agency must build its capacities to assess States’ compliance with their non-proliferation obligations. The Additional Protocol to the Agreement on Safeguards was an effective instrument, which his Government had ratified in 2007, and he hoped all States that had not yet acceded to that document would do so within the shortest possible time.
On combating nuclear terrorism, he noted his Government’s ratification of the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, and called on States that had not yet done so to promptly sign and ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. To ensure nuclear and radiation safety, he welcomed the Agency’s efforts to assist States in establishing national regulatory systems. He attached great importance to implementing technical cooperation projects to remove highly enriched uranium from Soviet-made research reactors. The Russian Government would allocate $17 million to the Nuclear Safety Account and the Chernobyl Shelter Fund.
Further, the Russian Federation would continue to pay its voluntary contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund, and favoured paying such contributions in national currencies. His country would allocate $10 million to assist Armenia in improving its nuclear power plants, within the framework of the Technical Cooperation Programme, he added.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), speaking in support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the development of peaceful uses of nuclear technologies, pointed out that all Middle East States, with the exception of Israel, had joined the comprehensive safeguards systems of the IAEA to establish a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the Middle East. Israel remained outside that system even after the adoption of an annual resolution calling for it to do so. He said the seriousness of nuclear facilities not complying with international safety or security standards complicated the crisis in the region and jeopardized the strength of the IAEA. He therefore called on Member States to fully support this resolution.
He observed that, especially in light of nuclear-weapon States not fulfilling their NPT obligations, the restrictions on developing countries to access nuclear energy-related technologies impeded their ability to develop clean energy sources, and enhance fiscal and social prosperity based on peaceful nuclear programmes. That discrepancy had hampered the implementation of IAEA’s comprehensive safeguards to become a universal foundation towards disarmament and peace-based nuclear energy programmes.
Concluding with Egypt’s commitment to support the activities of the IAEA and acknowledging its challenging role as to the international forum of nuclear security, stability, scientific advancement and welfare, he reiterated Egypt’s goal for a strong, peace-based nuclear energy programme for its own advancement in the fields of health, agriculture, food, water resources, radioactive isotopes, and irradiation, among others.
RAYMOND CHOW ( Singapore) noted that, now more than ever, the role of the IAEA was a core component to the increase of utilizing nuclear energy as an energy source for many countries, evinced by the fact that at the end of 2007, there were 34 nuclear power plants under construction around the world. However, recalling back to the Chernobyl tragedy, he reminded the Agency that it had the grave responsibility to ensure security and safety in the development of peace-based nuclear industry. Even with recent advancements in construction, accidents still occurred, and constant vigilance needed to be maintained. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant had withstood an earthquake in 2007 because it had been designed to withstand shocks above the recommended seismic threshold. Japan’s responsible approach to design needed to be replicated and locations needed to be carefully considered in new construction.
He went on to say that leaders at the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Philippines affirmed their decision to cooperatively establish a regional nuclear safety protocol. He called for the IAEA to assist in that development by helping the region develop and adopt best practices and common norms in line with international standards of nuclear plant and technological management design. Singapore was committed to working closely with the IAEA and regional partners to develop a safe and secure regional framework. He concluded with a call on all Member States to fully cooperate with the IAEA and to be a “part of the international community’s effort to enhance global peace and security”.
MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) said the need to strengthen the Agency’s effectiveness, including its performance in technical cooperation activities and in facing the challenges of changing circumstances and the diverse needs of Member States was very important. He valued the Director General’s initiative in creating the Commission of Eminent Persons and hoped the report would trigger discussion among Member States to help the Agency achieve its goals, and enhance its credibility and effectiveness.
Turning to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, he said it was within the Agency’s mandate to contribute robustly to global efforts to alleviate the current food shortage by helping implement all technological and scientific resources within its capacity. He underscored the benefits of the IAEA/Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) joint activities. He also supported the Agency’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy, which had played a growing role in the international efforts against cancer in the developing world. He noted the Agency’s role in increasing international awareness of nuclear energy’s future role in tackling the challenges of climate change.
Indonesia supported the Agency’s work in strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of its safeguards system. As a party to NPT and the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free-Zone, Indonesia had placed a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, and an Additional Protocol, in force and implemented integrated safeguards with the Agency. He was concerned that progress on the univerzalization of safeguards agreements and additional protocols had been slower than expected. They should be applied equally to non-nuclear and nuclear-weapons States, he said.
Indonesia attached great importance to the NPT and hoped that the States parties would formulate a consensual text that would be recommended for a successful 2010 Review Conference. At that conference, all countries should renew their commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and intensify their efforts to reach the three pillars of the Treaty in a balanced and non-discriminatory manner. Indonesia was deeply committed to the cause of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and fully supported the Agency’s work. He believed that additional constructive debate among the Member States was imperative to ensure that the demands, concerns and priorities, particularly those of the developing countries, were duly addressed.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said the Agency could make a “significant” contribution to meeting twenty-first century needs by ensuring equitable access to nuclear materials, technology and equipment for peaceful purposes. Indeed, to ensure every State’s right to peaceful nuclear energy use, universal and non-discriminatory criteria for international cooperation were needed. Principles should be placed above commercial interests, and a non-discriminatory approach to promoting civilian nuclear cooperation would help reinforce confidence in both the Agency’s safeguards system and the non-proliferation regime.
The Agency’s founding “Atoms for Peace” paradigm must be at the centre of any future vision, he said, explaining that such a vision could be ensured only with a balance between its promotional activities, and work in verification, nuclear safety and security. The Agency must maintain its focus on its technical promotional character. Pakistan had been a major beneficiary of the Technical Cooperation Programme, and he appreciated the Department of Technical Cooperation’s excellent programme delivery. For its part, Pakistan was prepared to contribute to the Agency’s promotional activities.
Pakistan had advocated harnessing nuclear technology for peace, and had developed the entire range of the nuclear fuel cycle facilities, he said, noting that two nuclear power plants were in operation, a third was under construction, and plans were under way to establish a uranium conversion and enrichment facility. He looked forward to the Agency’s assistance to complete its nuclear power generation plan.
In addition, he said Pakistan’s atomic energy development programme had always recognized nuclear safety and security, in the national and international context, as a vital objective, and the Government had followed guidance contained in the Agency’s Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. He concluded by reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, noting that his country’s track record on safeguards was “immaculate”. Effective controls were in place for the export of goods, technologies and facilities related to nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.
Noting that the 2007 annual report marked 50 years of “indispensable and outstanding work” by the IAEA, and indicated the increasing development of its activities in many areas of nuclear technology that were of great interest and importance to the human community, BYRGANYM AITIMOVA (Kazakhstan) expressed “wholehearted” support of the need for the Agency in its expansion of technical cooperation in uses of nuclear applications in food, agriculture, medicine and natural resources. She said that adopting the annual resolution would reaffirm strong support of the Assembly for the Agency’s indispensable role in encouraging and assisting in developing, and practically applying, atomic energy for peaceful purposes; in technology transfer for developing countries; and in nuclear safety, verification and security.
She said that conflicts and threats had not diminished and the international community had failed to resolve issues of disarmament and non-proliferation because of a lack of consensus. Therefore, the IAEA’s role and goals would not be underestimated, as it served as one of the main instruments of nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime. She therefore urged the Agency to play a leading role under the three pillars of its mandate in monitoring the technology, safety and verification of nuclear use among nations, and to strengthen its functions as a non-proliferation watchdog, in verification of all nuclear material export and import operations, its production, use and possession.
Kazakhstan, for its part, had undertaken effective measures in implementation of its obligations to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, which included the Additional Protocol to the agreement on the application of safeguards between itself and the IAEA. In terms of energy supply, continued population growth and longer human life spans were posing challenges, and the ongoing crises in energy security had created a growing demand for nuclear energy, she said. Kazakhstan contained approximately 19 per cent of explored uranium reserves in the world, or 1.5 million tons, with an increase in annual growth of 25.7 per cent between 2006 and 2007, a further increase projected for 2008, and by 2010, it is planning to become the world’s leading uranium producer. Because of that, the Government had adopted the national programme of atomic energy development to increase cooperation with the IAEA and its Member States.
Kazakhstan planned to create a special authority for the coordination of national programmes for peaceful atomic energy uses, and had implemented a new edition of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources which strengthened control of ionization sources. On the implementation of such projects, she expressed appreciation to the IAEA and assisting countries.
Though the IAEA report concluded that the nuclear industry had continued to demonstrate high levels of safety and security worldwide, Kazakhstan recognized the right of any nation to develop peaceful nuclear technology under strict international control, especially via the IAEA, she said. States that had not yet enforced their IAEA safeguards agreements and additional protocols must do so, as they constituted the Agency’s current verification standard.
As a country meeting its obligations to strengthen a non-proliferation regime by fully abiding in its export control policies to commonly accepted norms and being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Kazakhstan called for thorough scrutiny of the introduction of new restrictions on nuclear technology transfers, in order to avoid “unjustified” barriers to peaceful atom development. However, realizing the potential threat of highly enriched materials, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources had adopted a five-year program of transfer of VVR-K research reactor to low enriched fuel and the safe decommissioning of a fast breeder reactor.
HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said that, while it had been a year of “notable success” for the Agency, he shared the concern that the Technical Cooperation Fund continued to lag behind the pressing needs of developing countries. He reiterated the need to ensure an equitable balance among the three pillars of the Agency’s mandate, which was especially important, given the convergence of the “nuclear renaissance” with the need for efficient use of nuclear power. As the global food crisis required the Agency’s attention, he supported the continued joint collaboration with the FAO.
Looking forward to the new three-year Technical Cooperation Programme cycle, which emphasized food and agriculture, among other issues, he urged increasing resources for managing technical cooperation for development. Malaysia supported changing the status of Fund contributions from voluntary to obligatory, and fully supported employing hedging mechanisms to protect against value erosion. He also called for contributions to be exempt by the Agency from programme support costs. For its part, Malaysia had honoured its obligations to contribute on time and in full to the regular budget and Fund. It also supported the Programme and other Agency activities through in-kind contributions, among other things.
On the application of safeguards to all nuclear activities in the Middle East, he reiterated the need to promptly establish a nuclear weapons free zone, as there was serious concern that certain nuclear facilities and materials were not subject to comprehensive safeguards. He called on Israel to join the NPT, refrain from engaging in nuclear military activities, and unconditionally open all its nuclear facilities to Agency inspections.
He said the Agency’s future should be based on the “fundamental bargain” underlying the NPT -- the inalienable right of all States parties to research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination – and urged respect for each country’s choice in such matters. On nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he stressed that concerns must be addressed through multilaterally negotiated agreements, and that nuclear weapon control arrangements should be open to participation by all States.
Further, the IAEA must be allowed to enhance its impartiality, notably in carrying out its safeguards verification activities. He strongly rejected any politicization of such work, and urged nuclear-weapons States, and those that were not parties to the NPT, to exercise greater political will towards irreversible nuclear disarmament.
At the operational level, he noted that the Agency must properly balance the three pillars of its mandate –- technical cooperation, nuclear safety and security and nuclear weapons non-proliferation safeguards and verification. There was no need to impose new legally binding safeguards obligations on NPT States Parties. In closing, he said any initiative to develop a multilateral approach to the nuclear fuel cycle and fuel-supply assurances should not create a new regime of nuclear technology “haves and have-nots”; rather, it should be based on extensive consultation among all interested parties.
YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) said that his country, as a member of the IAEA Board of Governors since its foundation, and as a leader in the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, had made significant contributions to the Agency through its commitment to the strengthening of the safeguards system by sharing its advanced relevant technology and scientific knowledge with many developing countries through the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme. He said that amid the current “nuclear renaissance”, a growing number of countries had expressed interest in introducing or expanding nuclear power programmes.
On the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, he noted its great capacity and potential to ensure a reliable, clean energy supply, and its value in common efforts to combat global warming. But, as such capacities must be developed for only peaceful purposes and in the most secure way, with vitally important non-proliferation and safeguards, nuclear safety and nuclear security ensured, the IAEA’s role was increasing in importance.
As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings, Japan voiced continued commitment to working strenuously towards the elimination of all nuclear weapons, and had, along with many co-sponsors, presented to the Assembly a resolution on nuclear disarmament. He went on to express the hope for a productive third session of the preparatory committee ahead of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and for meaningful contributions from the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, which had been established this year by Japan and Australia.
He called for verification of nuclear non-proliferation through an internationally credible and objective safeguards system, and noted that Japan had “made every effort” to gain international confidence through its full cooperation with the IAEA, while maintaining a high level of transparency that had resulted in the IAEA’s conclusion that Japan’s nuclear programmes are exclusively for peaceful purposes. The integrated safeguards system had been implemented in Japan, as well as the world’s first Site-Level Integrated Safeguards approach.
The nuclear development undertaken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was a threat to the peace and security of the entire international community and a serious challenge to the NPT regimes. The establishment of an effective verification framework by the Six-Party Talks was essential for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he said, expressing Japan’s continued commitment towards a peaceful resolution within that framework. He noted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had not yet agreed to such a framework. On Iran, he said that country had continued –- even expanded –- its uranium enrichment-related activities, despite the international community’s repeated calls to cease. He urged Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA and “respond sincerely” to requirements from relevant IAEA Board resolutions and Security Council resolutions, in order to remove the concerns of the international community and gain its confidence.
LESLIE B. GATAN ( Philippines) said that a partnership was needed among nuclear-weapons States and de facto nuclear-weapons States, and even among States which were believed to have nuclear weapons. Such a partnership was essential to ensure that countries did not provoke or cause their neighbouring States to fear for their security and, therefore, see the need to acquire nuclear weapons.
The Philippines saw a renaissance of nuclear energy over the next two decades, which would, in turn, create opportunities and challenges for Member States and the Agency. Among other pursuits, there needed to be training for people; the design of reactors that were safe and secure, economical and proliferation resistant; assured supplies of nuclear fuel; radioactive waste management, including disposal; and public acceptance. Towards those ends, the Philippines supported strengthened cooperation at the regional and international levels.
The Philippines believed peaceful uses of nuclear energy provided immense benefits for developing countries. Its Government was reassessing the possibility of nuclear power as a source of energy to meet the ever growing demands from the energy sector. Nuclear security was another area of concern. The Agency’s support to Member States was essential to creating effective national nuclear security regimes to prevent nuclear accidents. The Philippines believed in having high standards of safety for nuclear power facilities, he said.
The Philippines reiterated the critical role of the IAEA’s safeguards and verification activities in ensuring nuclear non-proliferation. Turning to peaceful means for nuclear energy, he noted the Agency’s work in agriculture and the Programme of Action on Cancer Therapy. The Agency must continue to play its vital role in enabling developing countries to use science and technology for development and maintaining international peace and security.
FIDELINO LOY DE FIGUEIREDO ( Angola) appreciated the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme, which his country considered an important and efficient tool for peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology. The programme also contributed to the search for solutions to problems related to human and animal health; agricultural, energy production, water resources; and industry applications, among other fields.
In that regard, Angola especially noted the Agency’s 2007 Technical Cooperation Report, which indicated that 122 Member States and Territories, including 37 African countries, had benefited from that assistance last year. The support had mainly concentrated on human health and agriculture. He said the eradication or control of cancer, sleeping sickness, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, as well as of insect pests was one of the important preconditions for the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger on the continent by 50 per cent by 2015, as outlined in the Millennium Development Goals.
While praising the partnership between the IAEA and the FAO, which he said had been successful in strengthening the capacity of developing the application of nuclear technology in key agricultural projects, he, however, expressed “deep concern” about the FAO’s intention to terminate that cooperation at the end of this year. He appealed to both organizations to reconsider that matter. He added that Angola recognized the right of all States to have full use of nuclear technology and scientific applications without discrimination and in conformity with the Agency’s statute.
DESALEGN ALEMU ( Ethiopia) said Ethiopia had engaged in a number of national and regional projects that used nuclear techniques to address socio-economic development problems in such areas as agriculture, human health, water resources management and energy planning. Its largest technical cooperation project with the Agency was aimed at eradicating the tsetse fly from Ethiopia’s South Rift Valley, by applying an Integrated Pest Management approach to a 25,000 kilometre-wide area of land. Started in 1997, that project had suppressed the existing fly population, created a centrally operated sterile insect production plant, and used the Sterile Insect Technique technology to control and eradicate the fly population. The project had already reduced the prevalence of the Trypanosomiasis disease among the livestock population in the treated area.
In the area of human health, Ethiopia had collaborated with the Agency to develop an action plan to expand radiotherapy and nuclear medical services to five medical facility hospitals around the country. He asked Ethiopia’s development partners to step up their technical and financial support to help implement the action plan, which would save thousands of lives at risk of cancer through well equipped and expanded radiotherapy and nuclear medicine services.
On the issue of the Agency’s collaborative work with the Food and Agriculture Organization, he said any measure to terminate the Joint Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture would adversely impact the synergy created between the two organizations to strengthen global food security.
Referring to the Agency’s expected increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of nuclear verification, nuclear safety and technology transfer, Ethiopia acknowledged the Agency’s need to upgrade its laboratory and computation facilities and enhance its management information system. To do so, Member States needed to address and support the External Auditor’s recommendation to adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards and Agency-wide Information System for Programme Support. He said the ratification and implementation of the additional protocol to the safeguards agreement, and the modified small quantities protocol, would help enhance the verification process by IAEA as the competent global authority mandated to do so.
DON PRAMUDWINAI ( Thailand) reaffirmed the indispensable work of the IAEA, and supported its efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. He also stressed the Agency’s role towards the enhancement of human security, as well as its efforts to ensure that nuclear technology assisted States in achieving broader development, including the Millennium Development Goals. By example, he noted the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy and Treatment, which contributed to the prevention and reduction of cancer cases. Further, continued active collaboration between the IAEA and the FAO in the area of food security and safety was also necessary.
He went on to call for effective management at the IAEA to ensure that it was able to react appropriately to future proliferation challenges with “efficient, assured, predictable responses”. Thailand had been a proponent of the establishment of a South Asian nuclear-free zone, which, he noted, “should be [simulated] in all regions of the world”. Enhanced exchange of experiences and constructive dialogue on that subject was welcomed.
The international community must share the responsibility of strengthening the non-proliferation regime, including through the complete fulfilment of States Parties NPT commitments and adherence to IAEA authority and regulations. On Iran, though Thailand fully supported the inalienable right of all Parties to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, that right must be pursued according to NPT guidelines. He called for a peaceful settlement of that issue through continuing a diplomatic course and refraining from confrontation.
Regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he expressed support for the ongoing dialogue in the Six-Party Talks, the full implementation of its 2005 Joint Statement, and continued efforts towards a complete verification of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. In closing, he praised the IAEA’s annual report and its list of accomplishments, but stressed that the document was also a realistic outlook at where the Agency’s future challenges lay.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, Director-General for the United Nations and other International Organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said his country had 15 operational units at four nuclear power plants, and fully recognized the Agency’s role in developing nuclear power applications. Nuclear power would remain important in providing economic security in the medium- and long-term perspectives. The Technical Cooperation Programme was among the principle mechanisms for implementing its basic mission, and Ukraine had last year hosted eight regional and interregional events within that framework.
Of particular importance in the area of nuclear safety were problems related to radioactive waste management during the decommissioning of the Chernobyl national peaceful programme, and conversion of the shelter “object” to an ecologically safe system, he said. He hoped the Agency’s attention to the Chernobyl issue would not decrease. His country noted, with satisfaction, that last year, it had completed projects to harmonize safety assessment processes, and that it continued to develop projects in the area of human health. Further, the Agency had provided assistance last year for improved nuclear safety arrangements, in which Ukraine had participated.
Continuing, he noted the Agency’s ongoing efforts aimed at developing nuclear fuel supply assurances. Ukraine, which possessed significant uranium deposits, was open for international cooperation in that area, and appreciated the Agency’s support in converting research reactors from those of highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium fuel. Reconfirming his support for activities aimed at improving the safeguards system, he also welcomed efforts to prevent diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful to military purposes, and detect covert weapons activities. In closing, he said that through its nuclear power, nuclear applications and technical cooperation programmes, the Agency continued to stand up to global challenges. He fully supported the draft resolution under consideration.
KIM BONG-HYUN ( Republic of Korea), underlining the Agency’s importance in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, called its report “timely”, and said the global nuclear system should be consolidated to meet the new opportunities and challenges arising from the expanded use of nuclear energy. Indeed, the Agency should continue to play a crucial role in supporting the nuclear renaissance in the coming years.
He first discussed the univerzalization of the comprehensive safeguards agreement and Additional Protocol to the NPT, saying they were essential for improving the current safeguards and verification regime. He called on those States which had not yet done so to bring them into force without delay. Second, his Government attached great importance to a new multilateral framework for assuring the supply of nuclear fuel, and any new mechanism should provide reliable, equitable access to nuclear fuel and limit proliferation risks. On nuclear terrorism, the most imminent threat to nuclear peace and security, he said the Nuclear Security Report 2008 would help State and non-State actors address aspects of that grave issue. As the IAEA was a focal point for facilitating nuclear security at national and international levels, its experiences should be shared with other global organizations.
He said the expanded use of nuclear energy called for strengthening nuclear non-proliferation, stressing that peaceful resolution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear issue was vital to securing lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. There had been “ups and downs” on the issue, and he welcomed the Six-Party Talks being brought back on track through recent agreements on verification, the United States’ removal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from the list of State sponsors of terrorism, and the latter country’s resumption of disablement measures. In closing, he expressed his Government’s hope that the next round of Talks would be held as soon as possible, and that a verification protocol would be concluded among the Six Parties. The Republic of Korea would continue to work closely with all parties in resolving the nuclear issue in a peaceful manner.
JEAN-FRANCIS R. ZINSOU ( Benin) said he was particularly concerned with the acquisition of uranium enrichment technology. That meant those countries benefiting from cooperation with the Agency had the potential to become nuclear-weapons States because of the ease with which the material could be converted to military use. That was of greater concern, since there was a growing demand for energy, and more countries wanted nuclear energy to meet their needs.
The right to nuclear energy was an inalienable right of all sovereign States. The international community needed the means to prevent the dizzying growth of nuclear-weapons States. It needed the unfailing monitoring of the production of nuclear energy through more binding methods and to prevent the conversion of existing production capacity for military purposes. There was a need to encourage the transfer of nuclear energy technology that did not impact a country’s capacity to acquire nuclear arms. European countries had stated that they were making progress in that direction, and that deserved the support of the international community.
The international community must strengthen the multilateral mechanisms, and the role of the Agency was a critical one. The fact that many theft cases had never been resolved was creating a terrible danger. The international community needed to strengthen its monitoring capacity and needed to expand the potential for technical cooperation and the exchange of information. All States needed to become aware of the risks and make use of a systemic policy of prevention. Benin encouraged efforts to promote the use of nuclear energy for the purpose of development, particularly agriculture and health. Benin supported the resolution to be adopted by the Assembly.
Action on Draft
Speaking in explanation of position before action on the draft resolution, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stressed that in that text, the IAEA had not quit “its prejudiced and unfair position vis-à-vis the Korean Peninsula”. The document was a direct product of hostile policy of the United States. Despite such facts, the Agency had disregarded his country’s sincere efforts to resolve the issue. Unless the Agency took an impartial position in resolving problems, any activities or resolutions adopted by it would not solve the nuclear issue. For such reasons, his delegation strongly rejected the text, and would closely watch the Agency’s position regarding the nuclear issue.
He said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had been consistent in its position to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully, citing the 19 September statement at the Six Party Talks, and principle of “action for action”. His country had honoured all its commitments reached at the Talks, and if other Parties would fulfil their obligations, the denuclearization process could advance smoothly.
Though Japan was a party to the Talks, and pretended to be interested in denuclearization, it was “standing insincere” in resolution of the issue, which was a deliberate move, he said. While most countries welcomed the recent Democratic People’s Republic of Korea-United States agreement, Japan had exposed its stereotypes “here and there” when opportunities had been provided. Japan wished to evade fulfilment of its obligations, and was concerned that if the anti-Democratic Republic of Korea policies of the United States disappeared, Japan would have no pretext for realizing its ambition to invade the region. He firmly believed that if Japan had been excluded from the Six Party Talks, denuclearization of the Peninsula would have progressed much more than it had until this point.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution on the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (document A/63/L.6) without a vote.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Japan said the allegation by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that Japan was insincere in pursuing denuclearization was “entirely groundless”, and he strongly opposed that statement. He categorically rejected the allegation that Japan aimed to become a military power. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had created a threat to peace in northeast Asia, notably by declaring its nuclear test. Security Council Resolution 1718 (2006) stated that such acts were a clear threat to peace and security, and sanctions had the backing of the global community.
To remove that threat, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must make efforts towards implementing the documents of 2005. Japan’s earlier statement on the draft resolution stood as stated: nuclear development was a threat to peace and security of Japan, and the entire international community. Japan would be sincere in pursuing settlement of that problem.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the Japanese delegation had not grasped the thrust of his statement, and it was his duty to make known Japan’s attitude about the nuclear problem. Japan had behaved shamelessly in saying it would not make economic compensation discussed at the Talks. Further, Japan had not tried to implement issues discussed by the Six Parties, and had conducted “hectic diplomacy”, particularly in efforts that would not have the United States remove his country from its list of State-sponsored terrorists. Nonetheless, that issue resulted in an official announcement that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would indeed be removed from that list.
Continuing, he said Japan’s insistence that it would not participate in economic compensation meant it disturbed implementation of the 3 October agreement. Japan was creating hurdles in a bid to block a solution of the nuclear issue. On the Security Council resolution discussed by the Japanese delegate, he recalled that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had categorically rejected it, as it was a product of the United States’ hostile policy towards his country.
Responding, the representative of Japan said that those resolutions had been adopted unanimously. Rejection of them spoke to the sincerity of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the issue at hand.
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