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International Atomic Energy Agency ‘a Sentinel against Nuclear Proliferation’, Secretary-General Says, in Message to General Conference

International Atomic Energy Agency ‘a Sentinel against Nuclear Proliferation’,


Secretary-General Says, in Message to General Conference


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, as delivered by Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, to the fifty-eighth regular session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference, in Vienna today:

I am pleased to send greetings to the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA continues to serve as an indispensable forum for international nuclear cooperation and as a sentinel against nuclear proliferation.  To carry out these obligations effectively is no easy task, but time and again, the IAEA has risen to the challenge.

The past year has spawned many such challenges.

The aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi accident has justifiably continued to dominate the international conversation on nuclear safety.  There is a growing recognition that the use of nuclear power requires a strong nuclear safety culture, including the adoption and implementation of effective international safety standards.

In the same way, nuclear security has also remained at the forefront of international concerns, and every care must be taken to minimize the threat of nuclear terrorism.

In March, I attended the third Nuclear Security Summit, in The Hague, during which the leaders of over 50 countries pledged their determination to strengthen international cooperation in this area.  They also reaffirmed the IAEA’s central role, and I have full confidence in the IAEA’s ability to continue to perform this role admirably.

The IAEA has also continued its work to ensure that the use of nuclear power will not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation.  In this regard, I am pleased to note that there are now 124 States with additional protocols in force.

With respect to efforts to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme, I welcome the progress made by Iran and the IAEA under the Framework of Cooperation, and I encourage the parties to expedite their efforts aimed at resolving all outstanding issues.  The extraordinary support by the IAEA for the Joint Plan of Action has also been essential in providing the political space for diplomacy to work.

Regrettably, due to the continued lack of access, the IAEA has remained unable to verify the status of the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  I once again encourage the DPRK to work towards building confidence and mutual trust with its neighbours to enhance peace and stability in the region.  This would facilitate the resumption of diplomatic dialogue on the peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue, leading to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

I commend the Director-General and the IAEA staff for their continuing efforts to help Member States realize the benefits of nuclear energy while protecting against its misuse.  And I look forward to the continued partnership of the IAEA and the United Nations in our shared efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

Please accept my best efforts for a productive conference.

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For information media. Not an official record.