At the opening of the 56th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna taking place from September 17 to 21, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance of Cyprus, Mr Georgios Papageorgiou, delivered a statement on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States. The main issues addressed, concern nuclear non-proliferation, safeguards and nuclear verification, as well as nuclear safety and nuclear security. The EU has also expressed its deep concern over the developments in Iran, Korea and Syria regarding their position on issues of nuclear energy. In addition to the excerpts from his statement below, the full text of his address can be accessed here.
The objective of the IAEA is to further the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It is an independent organisation with a special agreement with the United Nations (UN). In the statement, Mr Georgios Papageorgiou expressed the European Union’s commitment to the international Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) which entered into force in 1970 and which is safeguarded by the IAEA.
“The EU remains committed to effective multilateral action against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and emphasises the importance of universalizing the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT). We call on States that have not done so to join the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon states.”
In the statement, the European Union reiterated its concern on developments regarding non-proliferation in Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Syria.
“The EU is deeply concerned by the protracted and serious challenges to the non-proliferation regime posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Syrian Arab Republic. The EU would like to stress again that the United Nations Security Council, as the final arbiter of international peace and security, has the mandate to take appropriate action in the event of non-compliance with NPT obligations including safeguards agreements”.
Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Syria
On Iran, the EU urges the country to “implement the mandatory Resolutions of the UN Security Council and the binding Resolutions of the Board of Governors”, adding that the EU’s objective remains to achieve a comprehensive negotiated long-term settlement. Such a settlement, would “build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme, while respecting Iran's legitimate rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in conformity with the NPT”, the statement reiterates.
On the issue of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the EU’s position was to urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea "to abandon all its existing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner”.
On Syria, Mr Papageorgiou said:
“The EU once again strongly urges Syria, as required by the Board's resolution, to remedy urgently its non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement and to cooperate urgently and transparently with the Agency to clarify matters with regard to Dair Alzour and the other sites, and to bring into force an Additional Protocol as soon as possible”.
Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Security
The statement also emphasised international cooperation on nuclear safety, technical cooperation and EU’s support for peaceful use of nuclear energy.
“The EU attaches the utmost importance to the implementation of the highest standards of nuclear safety worldwide. International cooperation is crucial for promoting the global nuclear safety framework. The EU calls on all Member States, which have not yet done so to become contracting parties to the relevant safety conventions without delay”, Mr Papageorgiou said and added:
“The EU supports IAEA activities in the areas of nuclear security in the framework of the implementation of the EU strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” and furthermore, “The EU aims at pursuing its support to nuclear safety world-wide through the INSC over the period 2014-2020 and should soon conclude negotiations on the regulation establishing this new INSC programme”.
Ministry of Labour & Social Insurance
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