The General Assembly today adopted, by a recorded vote of 99 in favour to none against, with 10 abstentions (Bolivia, Chad, Cuba, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syria, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela and Zimbabwe), a resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
By the terms of the draft resolution, previously adopted by consensus, the Assembly took note of the Agency’s report, as well as of numerous resolutions, including on the implementation of the agreement between the Agency and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
It also took note of resolutions on measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety; nuclear security; improving Agency safeguards efficiency; strengthening its activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications; the application of Agency safeguards in the Middle East; and staffing the IAEA secretariat, among other matters.
In a world faced with energy and terrorism challenges, the IAEA, with its broad scope and technical expertise, remained indispensable, more than two dozen speakers told the Assembly as it debated the report.
Introducing the report (document A/70/219), Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA said that over the past year, the Agency had demonstrated its ability to respond quickly to crises. And, in the case of Iran was the sustained efforts of the IAEA, the P5+1 (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States and Germany), the Security Council as a whole, and Iran itself, which got the international community to where it was today.
Indeed, said the representative of Iran, the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, through negotiations based on mutual respect, signified a crucial step. After the final assessment by the Board’s Director General, he expected that all past and present issues would be resolved “once and for all” at the upcoming Board of Governor’s meeting on 15 December.
The representative of the European Union noted that the Plan’s full and sustained implementation required the application and subsequent ratification by Iran of the Additional Protocol to the Agency’s safeguards agreement. However, other challenges remained, he said, expressing deep concern with the protracted and serious challenges to the non-proliferation regime posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Syria.
The real nuclear threat in the Middle East, asserted Syria’s representative, was Israel, whose missiles could reach China’s borders. Those who did not recognize that reality wanted to open “illusory” fronts to forget the danger that country posed. The IAEA report mentioned the Syrian reactors at Deir Ez-Zoor, but the Director General had long known that Syria had made non-proliferation one of its national priorities, ratifying the NPT in 1968 and signing the safeguards agreement in 1992.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the IAEA report mentioned its nuclear weapons in a discriminatory manner, and at the instigation of the United States, whose threat compelled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take “self-defensive action” by withdrawing from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Other delegations focused on the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme. The representative of Ethiopia noted one project in his country under way, which aimed to eradicate the tsetse fly from the Southern Rift Valley regions. In the Philippines, the electron beam irradiation facility, which had been established with the Agency’s assistance, was now fully operational and was handling the grafting of abaca fibres to produce metal adsorbents and honey alginate for wound dressing, that country’s representative told the Assembly.
At the opening of its meeting, Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft expressed sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the Governments and people of the countries that recently suffered “heinous” terrorist attacks.
“We mourn with those who lost their friends and loved ones,” he said, adding that the disregard for human life and human dignity displayed by groups such as Daesh, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Al-Qaida and others was “a mortal threat” to the values that brought the international community together at the United Nations. The world needed the United Nations to respond, but that response should be considered, comprehensive and sustained. Above all, it had to seek to advance a political solution to the conflict in Syria, he said.
The General Assembly then rose for a minute of silence.
Also speaking at today’s meeting were representatives of the Russian Federation, Kuwait, Ecuador, Pakistan, Japan, Cuba, Switzerland, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, China, Iraq, Egypt, Jamaica, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Argentina, United States and Lithuania.
Delivering statements in explanation of vote were representatives of Sudan, Belarus, Cuba and Nicaragua. The representative of Brazil introduced the resolution.
The General Assembly will meet again at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18, to take up the appointment of the judges of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal.
YUKIYA AMANO, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), noted clear links between the Sustainable Development Goals and the work of the Agency, including in such areas as energy, food security, nutrition, human health, protection of the oceans and management of water resources, as well as climate change. Over the past year, the IAEA had demonstrated its ability to respond quickly to crises, he said, citing its assistance to Nepal in testing the structural safety of its critical radiography infrastructure in the wake of the earthquake there. The IAEA Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy assisted Member States in integrating radiation medicine within comprehensive cancer control strategies. He provided an update on the renovation of the IAEA’s laboratories, and discussed climate change, saying that many of the delegates slated to attend the Paris conference believed that nuclear power could help them ensure reliable energy supply while curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Appropriate consideration should be given to nuclear power in talks on climate change mitigation.
He noted that in August, he had signed a host State agreement with Kazakhstan establishing an IAEA bank of low enriched uranium in that country. His report on the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident had been released in October, he said, of the view that it would enhance nuclear safety throughout the world. In that connection, universalizing the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material would reduce the likelihood that terrorists could detonate a “dirty bomb”, as well as the risk of a terrorist attack on a nuclear installation.
Turning to the issue of nuclear verification, he said that 12 non-nuclear-weapon State parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had yet to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency, and he urged them to do so as soon as possible. The nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remained a matter of great concern, with the Agency unable to undertake verification in the country, and he called on it to comply fully with its obligations. Regarding Syria, the Agency had not received any new information that would affect the assessment that the building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site was a nuclear reactor, which should have been declared.
Iran’s implementation of the IAEA’s safeguards system’s Additional Protocol was a powerful verification tool, which would give the Agency greater access to information and to locations in the country. Having signed in July a road map with Iran on the possible military dimensions of the country’s nuclear programme, he expressed hope that a clarification on that matter would be available by the end of the year. Much work remained to be done, but the progress made demonstrated that even complex and challenging issues could be tackled effectively if all parties were committed to dialogue. In the case of Iran, it was the sustained efforts of the IAEA, the P5+1 (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States and Germany), the Security Council as a whole, and Iran itself, which got the international community to where it was today.
Introduction of Draft
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil), introducing the draft resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (document A/70/L.8), said that his country attached great importance to the peaceful applications of nuclear energy, from human health, medicine and the production of radioisotopes to the nuclear fuel cycle, power generation, industry, agriculture and environmental protection. To fully support implementation of the IAEA safeguards as well as the efforts to achieve more efficiency in their application, the international community should ensure that States’ obligations were met. The Agency took into account the different scopes and corresponding safeguards measures deriving from the distinct categories of agreements entered into by Member States. The text was based on General Assembly resolution 69/7 of November 2014 and contained technical updates only. The adoption of the resolution would send a strong political signal of support for the work of the Agency in its various fields.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation), after protesting that the report of the IAEA spoke of Crimea as “occupied territory”, said the annexation of Crimea to Russia stemmed from the will of the people and was properly expressed in a referendum. Nuclear facilities in the Crimea were in the hands of the Russian Federation, which had informed the Agency. The Russian Federation would not accept a report that refuted that reality and disseminated information that was “ridiculous and without legal basis”. The fact that, as the report says, the Agency “provided data” and expressed “no opinion” did not prevent the Russian Federation from expressing reservations today as it had in Vienna yesterday. The Russian Federation, the representative said, had done everything to build consensus around the draft resolution, but the refusal of the IAEA to recognize Crimea as an integral part of the Russian Federation gave the country no choice but to dismiss a long and controversial consensual draft resolution.
IOANNIS VRAILAS, European Union representative, expressed deep concern with the protracted and serious challenges to the non-proliferation regime posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Syria. However, he welcomed the agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, noting that its full and sustained implementation required the application and subsequent ratification by Iran of the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement. The Security Council, as the final arbiter of international peace and security, had the mandate to take appropriate action in the event of non-compliance with non-proliferation treaty obligations. Underscoring the importance of the Agency’s safeguards system, he called for their universalization without delay.
Important to the Union was the implementation, promotion and continuous improvement of the highest nuclear safety standards, he said. In 2014, its Council had adopted a renewed directive to strengthen the safety framework for nuclear installations. The Union supported Security Council resolutions 1540 (2004) and 1887 (2009), as well as other international initiatives aimed at strengthening nuclear security. It also supported IAEA activities in that area and was among the main contributors to the Nuclear Security Fund, thus far, with €40 million from Union funds and another €45 million from Union member States. Stressing the importance of preventing nuclear material from falling into the hands of terrorists and proliferators, and of protecting nuclear facilities from malicious acts, he urged all States to become party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and to adhere to its 2005 amendment.
FARAH ALGHARABALLY (Kuwait) expressed her country’s support of the IAEA, as it promoted prosperity in the areas of health, technology and development throughout the world. Since nuclear energy was an alternative energy source, States must decide on its peaceful purposes, and Kuwait would contribute funds towards furthering cooperation between States and the Agency. She congratulated Iran and its support of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), which would reduce tension and increase stability in the Middle East. Following the implementation of the security agreement to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, she invited Iran to take additional measures to safeguard all its activities. Noting that many countries had joined agreements on disarmament and development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, she regretted that Israel had not signed the NPT and continued to develop its armaments — a major obstacle the Middle East’s goal to create a zone free of nuclear weapons.
FERNANDO LUQUE MÁRQUEZ (Ecuador) said that the IAEA must enhance its activities on science and health care, as well as the technical capacity of its programme. Member States of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) had played a key role the regional strategic profile regarding nuclear energy development. Ecuador had also moved forward with a new law to align its work with the IAEA, and had passed a law on the transport of nuclear materials and was formulating a national emergency response, should an accident occur during peaceful nuclear energy development. Ecuador’s Constitution prohibited the advancement of weapons, and the country firmly believed in the implementation of the three pillars of the NPT, without discrimination. While the international community had enshrined those pillars, nuclear disarmament had not seen progress. Ecuador, along with CELAC, had agreed that the impact of a detonation was enormous, and had actively participated in an appeal for a legally binding instrument. As a resolute defender of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Ecuador acknowledged that right, in line with the NPT, and cited the agreement with Iran as a “historic milestone” because “dialogue prevailed over unilateralism”.
KHALIL HASHMI (Pakistan) said that for over 55 years his country had sought to enhance the application of nuclear technology for economic and social development, with the IAEA as a valuable partner in those efforts. As one of the Agency’s earliest members, it had also contributed to its technical cooperation programme through the provision of training and experts. Noting the “upward trajectory” of its economy and its severe energy deficit, he said his country was tapping into all sources — hydro, solar and wind power, as well as nuclear energy. Despite over four decades of experience in safely operating nuclear power plants, it attached highest importance to the security of its nuclear power plants, all of which were under IAEA safeguards. His country had also harnessed nuclear technology in the health and agricultural sectors, as well as in research and development in the physical sciences and engineering.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran) said that the design and implementation of IAEA safeguards must comply with the inalienable rights of NPT States parties and avoid hampering their economic or technological development. Concerns about nuclear proliferation should not restrict the inalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, as stipulated in the NPT’s article IV. He noted with dismay, however, the systematic attempts, under the pretext of non-proliferation to restrict that application. That had occurred in past years with regard to his country, which, on the basis of its “firm ideological, strategic and international principles”, had “categorically and consistently rejected weapons of mass destruction and particularly nuclear weapons as obsolete and inhuman, and detrimental to international peace and security”. Security Council sanctions against Iran, therefore, had been unjust and illegal, and had not changed the country’s consistent policy of observing its NPT obligations.
The conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, through negotiations based on mutual respect, signified a crucial step, he said. It was based on recognition of his country’s peaceful nuclear programme and enrichment activities and the simultaneous termination of all provisions of previous Council resolutions, as well as the lifting of Council and unilateral or multilateral nuclear-related sanctions. That was a fundamental shift in the Council’s approach. In that context, he said that all previous resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors, which he called “politically motivated measures”, should be terminated, noting the Council’s endorsement of the joint accord in its resolution 2231 (2015). Iran was committed to fully implement its voluntary undertakings in good faith contingent upon the same good-faith implementation of all undertakings by the other parties. After the final assessment by the Board’s Director General, he expected that all past and present issues would be resolved “once and for all” at the upcoming Board of Governor’s meeting on 15 December.
YOSHIFUMI OKAMURA (Japan), recalling the publication of the IAEA’s Fukushima Report in April, said his country was sincerely committed to enhancing nuclear safety. Solid progress was being made at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power in decommissioning the plant and reducing the accumulation of contaminated water. To support the IAEA’s Peaceful Uses Initiatives, his country would contribute $25 million to be disbursed over the next five years. More recently, it had disbursed from the Initiative’s contributions about $1.2 million to support the IAEA’s regional technical cooperation projects in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific. He encouraged the international community to further support the Agency’s activities in the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.
IVIAN DEL SOL DOMINGUEZ (Cuba) said her country was dealing with obstacles to its cooperation with the IAEA because of sanctions, which imposed profound restrictions. In the restoration of diplomatic relations, the first step was the normalization of bilateral relations and the final elimination of the blockade. Cuba supported efforts to improve the efficiency of Agency safeguards, provided they did not affect the legitimate rights of States or establish discriminatory practices. Reaffirming her country’s support for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, she said that its establishment would be a key contribution for all peoples of the region. The failure to hold a conference for that purpose endangered the credibility of the NPT.
OLIVIER MARC ZEHNDER (Switzerland), calling the joint programme on Iran’s nuclear programme “historic”, he noted that it was the result of several years of intense and difficult negotiations, and it demonstrated the efficacy of diplomacy. He hoped for its constructive implementation by all parties. Underlining IAEA’s contributions to the agreement and its key role in verifying implementation, he noted Switzerland’s ongoing financial support. He also welcomed the unanimous adoption of the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety and praised the resolution that, for the first time, established a clear link between disarmament and nuclear security, arising from discussions at the IAEA’s General Conference in February. Switzerland supported the evolution of a system of safeguards and the work of the secretariat to implement such a concept at the State level. The so-called “State-level concept” must make the safeguards system optimally efficient, which would likely require a complete review of current practice and better targeting of priorities. The concept should not be restricted to gains in productivity, but should be extended to the Agency’s overall management.
ALLAN PHUA (Singapore) regretted that the resolution on the Agency’s report would not be adopted by consensus this year. He urged all contracting parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, especially those with nuclear installations or those planning a civilian nuclear programme, to implement the objectives in the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety. While all sovereign States had the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, that right must be exercised in strict accordance with the NPT. Hence, he urged the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea to return to the NPT, comply with all relevant Council resolutions and resume cooperation with the IAEA. He also welcomed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed by the “P5+1” and Iran, calling its implementation critical. Urging all parties to fulfil their obligations expeditiously and in good faith, he noted the essential verification role of the IAEA. He welcomed its work in mobilizing peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology to address critical global challenges and underscored his country’s collaboration with the Agency to provide technical assistance to other developing IAEA member States. He also expressed support for its cooperation with regional organizations.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 developing countries and China, stressed the critical importance of the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme. He enumerated a number of projects in his country under that programme, the largest of which aimed to eradicate the tsetse fly from the Southern Rift Valley regions, currently under way. Remarkable achievements had been made leading to the expansion of farmland and livestock farming. He called for increased resources from the regular budget for the technical cooperation programme. He also noted the Agency’s key role in promoting a global culture of safety. Its safeguards were basic components of the non-proliferation regime and created an environment conducive to nuclear disarmament and cooperation. That, along with its verification aspect, illustrated the IAEA’s contributions to international peace and security, he said, expressing support for the right of all States to use nuclear technology in accordance with the NPT.
HAHN CHOONGHEE (Republic of Korea) welcomed the IAEA efforts to align its technical cooperation programme with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and said that his country would continue to work with the Agency and others to ensure that nuclear power remained a viable option to meeting the energy challenges of the twenty-first century. Fukushima had been a solemn reminder that nuclear safety could never be taken for granted. The Republic of Korea continued to view with grave concern the ongoing violation by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of its international obligation to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes.
DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia) said that the Agency’s technical cooperation programme played an indispensable role as a main vehicle to deliver the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, especially in developing regions. The United Nations, therefore, needed to ensure sufficient resources for the programme through the Technical Cooperation Fund. IAEA Director General Amano had placed more weight on the promotion of nuclear science and technology in the areas of agriculture, health and the environment; Indonesia reiterated the importance of the Agency’s role in fostering international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as nuclear safety and security. Indonesia welcomed the accord on Iran’s nuclear programme as a decisive step towards achieving a final solution. He called on all relevant parties to adhere to agreed commitments with a view to finding a durable solution. In light of numerous changes to the global architecture, the Agency must also revisit its current practices under the Statute and work in a more efficient, representative and transparent manner.
LIU JIEYI (China) said that as the international community gradually took a “more rational” attitude towards nuclear energy, it was becoming more widely applied. While the universality of nuclear safeguards were being continuously strengthened, nuclear non-proliferation and security still faced a grim situation and the risks of nuclear terrorism could not be ignored. Encouraging the Agency to actively promote technical cooperation and to forge a more effective and impartial safeguards regime, he welcomed the efforts made to improve the relevant international legal architecture. China appreciated the positive role played by the IAEA in bringing about the agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue.
MOHAMED ALI ALHAKIM (Iraq) said that nuclear technology operations in 30 countries as well as 67 nuclear reactors under construction demonstrated the increasing interest in the right to possess and peacefully use nuclear technology. The technical and operational activities were priorities for Iraq, as well as for other developing countries, especially in their use for health and agriculture. Iraq had been able to strengthen its safety capabilities to stockpile and transport nuclear energy and could avoid trafficking as well as radioactive incidents. He commended the technical cooperation project, adding that countries were rightfully concerned over amount of contributions to the fund. Given the shortfalls, that must be appropriately addressed. Progress in curbing the nuclear weapons threat was insufficient unless it was coupled with disarmament in line with the NPT. Regional efforts fell short of ridding the Middle East of such weapons, because Israel still held its stockpile. The inability of the 2015 NPT Review Conference to have reached consensus was a failure to rid the region of those weapons, and Iraq, therefore, stressed the need to work seriously to distance that fragile region from global nuclear tensions.
OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said that the IAEA’s comprehensive safeguards system was the NPT’s only verification mechanism, and all international efforts aimed at implementing non-proliferation commitments, therefore, must turn to that system for enforcement. While acknowledging the success of the IAEA in ensuring the non-diversion of nuclear activities or material to military programmes, its role had had a limited impact in preventing vertical proliferation or in verifying the disarmament of the nuclear-weapon States. Turning to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, his delegation stressed the obligation of developed countries to promote the legitimate access of the developing countries to that energy source, with a view to achieving comprehensive sustainable development.
However, he said, there had been certain discriminatory arrangements to impose additional restrictions on some in a clearly politicized manner. Those manoeuvers did not contribute to the NPT’s implementation, in particular, to its universalization, and only interfered in the internal affairs of States by attempting to influence the determination of their nuclear energy requirements. Egypt called for the universalization of the IAEA safeguards system, as it was the only legal instrument in the technical field. He understood that accepting the safeguards was voluntary and thus binding only on States that acceded to it.
SHORNA-KAY RICHARDS (Jamaica) said that having benefitted significantly from the Agency’s technical cooperation activities, her delegation maintained a strong interest in IAEA programmes and welcomed the Agency’s initiative to synergize national development priorities. Jamaica had recently embarked on a project in partnership with the IAEA, Canada and the United States aimed at converting the fuel used in the country’s reactor from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, thereby decreasing non-proliferation risks while doubling the reactor’s utilization capacity. That additional capacity would allow the country to expand research related to food safety, food security and air quality, as well as enable it to accommodate the research needs of other Caribbean countries. In July, Jamaica’s Parliament adopted the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Act, which provided a legal framework for the regulation of activities, practices and facilities involving radiation and nuclear technology, and which aimed at protecting human health and nature, while harnessing the benefits of nuclear energy. Jamaica continued to work with the IAEA on the safe transport of radioactive materials, especially through the CARICOM-UNSCR 1540 Implementation Programme, which also addressed the challenges facing several Caribbean Community States in obtaining affordable radiological materials for use in hospitals across the region.
HAMZA ALOKLY (Libya) said that through the IAEA’s technical cooperation, his country received considerable support in several development areas. Libya also approved of the right of countries to nuclear power, as well as to transfer the related knowledge. However, the international community needed to take practical steps in supporting the IAEA to strengthen implementation of the NPT’s three pillars. Libya commended the IAEA’s efforts to end the use of nuclear weapons for terrorism and its attempts to free the Middle East of those weapons. Failure to make progress, however, had made it even more necessary to destroy nuclear weapons and keep them from those who wish to harm people.
JAMAL AL MUSHARAKH (United Arab Emirates) welcomed the report of the IAEA and recognized the Agency’s crucial role regarding the peaceful use of nuclear technology. Reiterating his country’s commitment to working with the IAEA and abiding by its standards, he noted that the United Arab Emirates was among the IAEA member States developing a civil nuclear power program. Commending the Agency’s efforts in producing the Fukushima report, he said that it would be of great value in developing peer review standards, among other uses. The United Arab Emirates believed that the IAEA had a central role in promoting and sharing best practices.
YURIY SERGEYEV (Ukraine) said that his country positively viewed the IAEA activities in all main statutory areas, including safeguards and nuclear verification. Having 15 operating power units, one of largest programmes in Europe, Ukraine valued the IAEA’s role in the responsible development of nuclear technology. Ukraine appreciated the work of the Agency in producing its report on the Fukushima accident, which was a balanced assessment of the causes of the accident as well as lessons learned. He said his country retained jurisdiction over all nuclear facilities and research reactors which were the property of Ukraine and located on occupied territory. All facilities in Crimea continued to be covered by the comprehensive safeguards agreement.
EDUARDO BUSTAMANTE (Argentina) underlined the technical and procedural nature of the resolution before the Assembly, saying it had no political elements. The effectiveness of the safeguards system was fundamental to the nuclear non-proliferation objective. The future architecture of nuclear physical security should be placed with the Agency, which was dealing with the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Encouraging global cooperation in that field was vital. The international community should join efforts to create more solid nuclear infrastructure for peaceful purposes.
IRENE SUSAN B. NATIVIDAD (Philippines) said that her country stood in solidarity with the international community in condemning the recent terror attacks that had killed hundreds of people. Now, more than ever, it was urgent to bolster the global non-proliferation regime to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. She said her country had benefitted tremendously from the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme over the years. The electron beam irradiation facility, which had been established with the Agency’s assistance, was now fully operational and was handling the grafting of abaca fibres to produce metal adsorbents and honey alginate for wound dressing.
TYLER MOSELLE (United States), expressed support for both the report and the resolution, but said it was a shame that this important discussion was being politicized by the statement on the illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. The position of the General Assembly remained clear: resolution 68/262 affirmed that Crimea remained a part of Ukraine, and its illegal annexation constituted a breach of the United Nations Charter and its principles. The Russian Federation’s assertion had been roundly rejected in Vienna, and the General Conference made clear that those comments had no place in a technical document from a technical agency. He thanked Brazil for its skilful guidance in bringing the resolution to the Assembly and said it had the full backing of the United States.
DOVYDAS ŠPOKAUSKAS (Lithuania) said that nuclear energy provided a viable solution in the face of challenges arising from climate change and the need to ensure energy security. Yet, nuclear energy had a future only if it developed in conformity with the spirit and letter of international safety standards and requirements. His country appreciated the role of the IAEA in setting high nuclear safety standards through the constant improvement of regulation, assistance in implementation and fostering the concept of safety culture.
He said that Lithuania regarded the comments by the Russian delegation on the IAEA report and the nuclear facilities on the Crimean peninsula as a detrimental attempt to influence the work of that independent and technical agency. Moreover, the decision by the IAEA to classify all nuclear facilities in Sevastopol as the property of Ukraine was in line with resolution 68/262, which called upon all international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alternation to the status of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and to refrain from any action interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.
AN MYONG HUN (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that if the United States had “not taken hostility” against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and had not threated the country with its nuclear weapons, the nuclear issue would not exist on the Korean peninsula. However, the IAEA report only mentioned the nuclear weapons of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in a discriminatory manner, and at the instigation of the United States, whose threat compelled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take “self-defensive action” by withdrawing from the NPT. The aggressive joint nuclear military exercises staged every year by the United States in South Korea, despite the strong condemnation of the international community, was a concrete manifestation of its hostile policy against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. His country’s nuclear power served to deter attack and aggression against it, defend its security and safeguard peace in the region; it did not constitute a threat to non-nuclear-weapon States that were not engaged in attack or aggression against his country.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said that the real nuclear threat in the Middle East was Israel, whose missiles could reach the borders of China. But those who did not recognize that reality wanted to open “illusory” fronts to forget the danger that country posed. The countries that refused the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East were the same ones that provided Israel with the technology and means to create nuclear weapons, proving once again the policy of “double standards”. The IAEA report mentioned the reactors at Deir Ez-Zoor, but the Agency’s Director General had long known that Syria had made non-proliferation one of its national priorities, ratifying the NPT in 1968 and signing the safeguards agreement in 1992. In December 2003, Syria also had submitted a draft resolution on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, which remained in “blue” in the Security Council and was subjected to the veto threat by the United States. Furthermore, Israel’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA allowed it to strengthen its nuclear capabilities without control, which not only undermined the credibility of the NPT, but also the security of the States and peoples of the region.
Action on Draft
The General Assembly then took action on the draft resolution before it, adopting it a recorded vote of 99 in favour to none against, with 10 abstentions (Bolivia, Chad, Cuba, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syria, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela and Zimbabwe).
Speaking after the vote, the representative of Sudan said that in previous years, his country had always joined consensus on the draft resolution. Sudan had hoped the resolution would have refrained from any indirect reference to any political matter, which should not be addressed in the text, but addressed in the framework of bilateral interaction. His country would continue to support all paragraphs in the report, however, the delegation had decided to abstain.
The representative of the Belarus said that his country had endorsed the resolution since it supported the activities of the IAEA and its annual report.
The representative of Cuba said that its delegation had abstained because it regretted that not all efforts had been exhausted to accommodate the legitimate aspirations of all delegations, and therefore preserved the consensus on the text.
The representative of Nicaragua said that his delegation had abstained, but acknowledged the importance of the work of the IAEA. However, it was regrettable that the Assembly had not been able to adopt the resolution by consensus; the delegation had hoped that it would have been possible to continue discussing those issues to find a solution and arrive at the consensus needed on other important resolutions. He expressed gratitude to the IAEA for its work, and hoped for continued cooperation with the Agency.