Nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East/IAEA report – General Assembly debate and action – Press release (excerpts)





Also Considers UN Contribution to Building Peace in Guatemala


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

Introduction of Report

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), …

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

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



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

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

* *** *

Document symbol: GA/10291
Document Type: Press Release
Document Sources: General Assembly, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Subject: Arms control and regional security issues
Publication Date: 01/11/2004

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Go to Top