I am pleased to convey my greetings to the fifty-seventh session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
As a bulwark of strengthening global nuclear non-proliferation, I have full confidence in the capacity of the IAEA to help ensure nuclear safety and security as well as strengthen nuclear safeguards. When I convened a high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security in 2011 following the Fukushima accident, I urged world leaders and the nuclear industry to revisit policies and standards for maximum safety. Significant progress has been made in this regard.
As the recent International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century reaffirmed, many States continue to regard nuclear power as a crucial component of their energy policies.
While recognizing the importance afforded to nuclear energy, we must also bear in mind the solemn responsibilities associated with its use. History has shown that nuclear accidents recognize no borders. Nuclear safety must be robust and effective. The Agency’s Action Plan on Nuclear Safety is central to improving safety standards adopted by different countries.
The IAEA is committed to ensuring that any expansion of nuclear power takes place in a way that results in maximum safety, reliability and efficiency, while also guarding against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Agency is continuing its dedicated efforts to strengthen the implementation of safeguards. The majority of States now have additional protocols in force.
However, I remain deeply concerned about the risks posed by nuclear proliferation.
I call upon the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to demonstrate its commitment towards a verifiable de-nuclearization. I also call upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to fulfil its pledge to enhance the transparency of its nuclear programme.
Substantial progress has also been made in strengthening nuclear security worldwide, including through greater adherence to multilateral instruments and the effective coordination of voluntary measures. But more needs to be done.
The risk of nuclear terrorism continues to pose a threat to international security.
The Nuclear Security Summits have contributed to reducing the risks of terrorists obtaining nuclear materials. But the momentum for progress needs to be sustained and expanded to involve all States.
That is the objective of Director General Amano’s initiative to convene the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts.
While the responsibility for nuclear security rests primarily with each State, we must recognize the importance of international cooperation and the central role of the IAEA in this regard.
I commend Director General Yukiya Amano and the IAEA staff for their work and I look forward to further strengthening the close partnership between the IAEA and the UN Secretariat. Together let us keep working for future progress in achieving our common goal, a world free of nuclear weapons. Please accept my best wishes as you address the challenging issues on your agenda.