42nd Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 1

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28-Oct-1996 01:34:23
Director-General tells Assembly of ever-widening role of the International Atomic Energy Agency - IAEA in verifying nuclear arms control agreements at the 42nd plenary of the 51st session.

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Debate Begins on Agency's 1995 Report; Speakers Voice Concern Over Nuclear Activities of Iraq, Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had an ever-growing role in the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons and in verifying nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements, the Director-General, Hans Blix, told the General Assembly this morning in presenting the IAEA's report for 1995. He said the Agency had also undertaken new responsibilities in the safe development nuclear energy worldwide.

He noted that the increasing number of regional nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties and the longstanding multilateral Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) all required and relied upon IAEA safeguards. Although the recently adopted Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) would have its own verification organization, the IAEA continued to have a role under that treaty.

Canada introduced a draft resolution by which the Assembly would affirm its confidence in the role of the Agency and urge all States to strive for effective and harmonious international cooperation in carrying out the work of the Agency, pursuant to its statute. It would commend the Director-General and the Agency itself for their continuing, impartial efforts to implement the safeguards agreement still in force between the Agency and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It would also commend the Director-General and the Agency for their strenuous efforts in the implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

Amendments to the draft resolution were introduced by Egypt and Israel. The first, introduced by Egypt, would have the Assembly note the request to invite experts from the Middle East and other areas to a technical workshop on safeguards, verification technologies and related experience. The second amendment, introduced by Israel, related to the IAEA Board of Governors.

The representative for the United States said Iraq continued to deliberately withhold information from the IAEA regarding its nuclear weapons programme. The United States supported the IAEA's comprehensive on-site monitoring and verification system which was intended to thwart the rebuilding of Iraq's nuclear weapons programme.

The representative for Tunisia said the implementation of the Agency's safeguards system, also known as the 93+2 programme, should take into account the need for balance between the new obligations of States in that regard and their sovereignty. New measures referred to by the Director-General should not entail additional costs for Member States, he said.

The representative for Ireland, speaking for the European Union and associated States, said that the Union was concerned that the IAEA was being hindered in its attempts to carry out its assigned task of verifying the correctness and completeness of the initial declaration of nuclear material by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Delays might have a critical effect on the Agency's ability to conclude that there had been no diversion of nuclear material in that country.

The representative for Iran said that while his country supported the right of every Member State to be represented on the Board of Governors of the IAEA, a State desiring such a position must gain the consent of the other countries in the region.

Statements were also made by Belarus, Kuwait, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Argentina, Mexico, Romania and Japan.

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