UGANDAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR TRANSFORMATION OF COMMODITY-DEPENDENT COUNTRIES IN ADDRESS TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Assembly Also Hears from IAEA Director General;

Adopts Resolutions on Sport for Peace and Development

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Background

The General Assembly met today to consider several items, including sport for peace and development, the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and support by the United Nations system of the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies.

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Introduction of Drafts

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ARYE MEKEL (Israel) recalled the horrific act that tarnished the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, when gunmen from the terrorist group Black September broke into the Olympic Village disguised as athletes and killed 11 Israeli athletes, coaches and referees.  For the people of Israel, the notion of the Olympic Games could not be separated from the memory of that terrorist event.  That act of terrorism and murder — unprecedented in the history of the Olympics — was the very antithesis of the Olympic ideal.  That was because rather than allowing the Games to transcend politics and conflict, they were used as a vehicle for the expression of hatred and the perpetration of murder.

He noted that the Olympic Games, as the world’s premier sporting event, had long been one of the primary meeting points for nations divided by politics or geography.  In that respect, Israel supported the observance of the Olympic Truce, as an expression of a common yearning for peace and reconciliation, and hoped that all Member States would unite to ensure that peace and security prevailed for the duration of the Games in Athens next year.  He urged the nations of the world not to forget the blemish on the history of the Games caused by the 1972 terrorist attack as they strove to ensure that future Olympic events served to broaden understanding, tolerance, respect and peace.

In that regard, he stressed that the prominence of a movement was reflected not only in its endeavours but also in its capacity to mourn those of its members who had perished for the principles it wished to promote.  It was unfortunate, he went on, that until today the International Olympic Committee had not yet found an appropriate way to officially observe the memory of the Israeli victims.  As one of the world’s only truly global events, the Olympic Games presented the international community with an extraordinary opportunity to focus the world’s attention and utilize the goodwill that the Games inspired for building a more peaceful and more harmonious world.  In its own region, Israel had tried to harness the power of sports to forge relationships and to build bridges across what he termed “the dark waters of conflict”.

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Statements on Report of International Atomic Energy Agency

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, Director General of the IAEA, …

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In the Middle East, he said, he had continued to consult with States on the application of full scope safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region, and on the development of model agreements.  It was regrettable that, due to the prevailing regional situation, it had not been possible to make progress on the implementation of that important mandate.  A comprehensive settlement in the Middle East must be accompanied by a regional security structure including the establishment of the region as a zone free from weapons of mass destruction.

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ANTONIO NUNEZ (Spain) introduced the draft resolution on the IAEA’s annual report, saying the text had included changes, which attempted to harmonize the Assembly’s work with various aspects of the work under way in Vienna.  The draft struck a middle ground between procedural texts of past years and substantive concerns, providing an overall picture of the Agency and the importance of its work.  It also proposed that the Assembly take note of the IAEA’s resolutions and decisions on nuclear safety, technology transfer and verification of safe use.  He highlighted the subject matter of some of those decisions, including declarations on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and nuclear safety in the Middle East.  Two declarations listed were not on substantive issues but were nevertheless topical as they dealt with, respectively, the Agency’s staffing, and women in its Secretariat.  He welcomed the Agency’s cooperation and hoped that the wide support shown for the draft by Member States would lead to a consensus adoption later today.

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JAVAD ZARIF (Iran) said that the inalienable right of all States parties to the IAEA’s statute on nuclear technology for peaceful purposes without discrimination was the very foundation of the NPT.  That inalienable right emanated from two broader propositions.  The first was that scientific and technological achievements were the common heritage of humanity.  They must be used for the benefit of humanity and not abused as instruments of terror and domination.  The second general proposition was the requisite balance between rights and obligations, which was the basis of any sound legal instrument.  That balance guaranteed the longevity of the legal regime by providing incentives for membership and compliance.  It was necessary to guard against furthering the impression that the NPT and the IAEA safeguards regime were in fact impediments for the peaceful use of nuclear technology, while non-membership was rewarded by acquiescence, as in the case of development of one of the largest nuclear-weapons stockpiles in the Middle East.

If anything, he continued, failure to accept the NPT and safeguard obligations should have made the only outsider to the NPT in the Middle East the subject of the most severe restrictions and not provide it with impunity, he said.  “The international community as a whole has the right to be assured that the nightmare that [had been] visited upon the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never happen again.”  That could be done through ridding the world of nuclear weapons as stipulated by the NPT and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and, in the interim, ensuring universality of the non-proliferation regime and IAEA safeguard mechanisms, and vigorously pursuing a balanced and non-discriminatory application of their provisions.

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Mr. GHEIT (Egypt) said he recognized the tangible contributions of the Agency in the field of safeguards and technology transfers, and said that its role in technical cooperation for the development priorities of developing countries deserved greater recognition.  That activity was a pillar of the Agency’s work and constituted a fundamental aspect of the development efforts of developing countries.  There should be full realization of the necessary budgetary resources for the Agency’s activities.  Undoubtedly, realizing an increase in the Agency’s budget by 6 per cent would reflect Member States’ appreciation for its work in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation and technology cooperation for sustainable development.

Regarding safeguards, he recognized the IAEA’s work in elaborating an international safeguards regime, and said that the universality of “full scope” safeguards should be ensured.  His country had put forward a number of initiatives at the regional and other levels to forward the non-proliferation regime, including through support for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.  However, Israel had not shown any desire to cooperate in the assurance of nuclear safeguards in the Middle East.  That adversely affected efforts to ensure nuclear non-proliferation, particularly in the Middle East region.

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ALEXANDER V. KONUZIN (Russian Federation) said he was satisfied with the Agency’s work and recognized its increasing role in strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensuring the required level of confidence for cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy and safe nuclear-power production.  He reaffirmed the need to further strengthen and increase the efficiency of the Agency’s system of safeguards as the basis for the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  Terrorist acts in his own country and the United States, recent dramatic events in the Middle East and the critical situation in Iraq clearly demonstrated the danger posed to the world community by international terrorism, and demanded consolidated efforts to establish a global system to counter new challenges and threats, including those in the nuclear sphere.

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Document symbol: GA/10201
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Document Type: Press Release
Document Sources: General Assembly, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Subject: Arms control and regional security issues
Publication Date: 03/11/2003