30th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 74th Session

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11-Nov-2019 03:03:02
Endorsing atomic energy agency report, General Assembly recognizes its critical role in disarmament, safeguarding nuclear material for peaceful uses at 30th plenary meeting.

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Endorsing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) annual report, the General Assembly today adopted a draft resolution that recognizes the critical role it plays in helping countries to keep nuclear and radioactive material and technologies safe and out of the hands of terrorists and other criminals.

Briefing the world body on IAEA activities over the past year, its Acting Director‑General introduced its annual report, noting that the Agency now implements safeguards for 183 States. Despite budgetary constraints, the IAEA continues to deliver on its high‑quality services, including in nuclear safety, food and agriculture, and health — most recently with the establishment of targets that will help countries develop nuclear medicine and other cancer treatments.

Providing an update on several cases, he said IAEA continues to verify and monitor Iran’s implementation of its nuclear‑related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, while keeping its Board of Governors and the Security Council informed of developments, including the recent installation of new advanced centrifuges and enrichment related activities. However, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme remains a cause for serious concern, he said, adding that: “They are in clear violation of relevant Security Council resolutions.” He called on Pyongyang to comply fully with its obligations, cooperate promptly with the Agency and resolve all outstanding issues.

Adopting the draft resolution “Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” (document A/74/L.19) — transmitted in a note by the Secretary‑General (document A/74/287) and introduced by Sweden’s delegate — the 193‑member Assembly took note of several resolutions recently approved by the Vienna‑based IAEA. The Assembly also expressed its appreciation for the 10 years of distinguished service by the late Director‑General Yukiya Amano and his significant contribution to enhancing the Agency’s efforts towards international peace and security. By the text’s terms, the Assembly appealed to Member States to continue to support the Agency’s activities.

In the ensuing discussion, Iran’s delegate said that the United States withdrawal from the Joint Plan of Action and re‑imposition of sanctions rendered the agreement ineffective. If timely measures are not taken by other participants, Iran will be forced to further limit the agreement’s implementation every 60 days. Tehran has paid a heavy price because of the United States “all‑out economic war”, he said, adding that “Iran alone cannot, shall not and will not take all the burdens anymore to preserve” the Joint Plan of Action.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, calling the IAEA report unfair and impartial, said the historic inter‑Korean declarations that greatly excited all stakeholders are now at a standstill. Moreover, relations between Washington, D.C., and Pyongyang have not progressed, and the Korean Peninsula has not extricated itself from the vicious cycle of aggravated tension, which is entirely attributable to the political and military provocations perpetrated by the United States.

The delegate from European Union expressed regret that the United States withdrew from the Joint Plan of Action and re‑imposed sanctions, calling on all countries to refrain from taking actions that would impede the agreement’s implementation. Expressing concern that Iran has exceeded the Plan of Action’s stockpile limit of enriched uranium and is enriching uranium above permitted levels and expanding its centrifuge research and development activities, he urged Tehran to reverse its activities and return to full compliance. He also urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to embark on a credible path towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

Other Member State representatives, including from Bangladesh, Egypt and India, commended IAEA for its role in helping to ensure that nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes. Echoing statements made by many non‑nuclear‑weapon States, Mexico’s delegate urged all nations, in their deliberations on atomic safety, to keep in mind the “catastrophic” human consequences of the use of these weapons.

Also speaking today were representatives of Belarus, Singapore, Jamaica, United Arab Emirates, China, Argentina, Kuwait, Japan, Republic of Korea, El Salvador, Ukraine, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Cuba, Guatemala, Philippines, Malaysia and South Africa.

The representative of Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 20 November, to hold a high‑level meeting on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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