Second day of the 55th IAEA General Conference

Posted by () on Sep 20 2011
VERTIC Blog >> Arms Control and Disarmament

Sonia Drobysz and Kate Farrell, Vienna

Today at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference, country statements continued in the plenary. These statements focused on safety, the Middle East and safeguards implementation issues. At the same time, the Committee of the Whole held its first session during which discussions on the safeguards resolution began. Safeguards were also discussed at length during a side event hosted by the Swiss government.

Plenary: statements continue
The IAEA General Conference continued today with further country statements. Safety issues and technical cooperation again featured heavily. In addition, progress on the nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East figured among the most discussed issues. Countries continue to show enthusiasm for the forum on exploring the nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. States from the region noted that the forum is a positive step, and must emanate from within the region.

Implementation issues
Regarding safeguards implementation issues, many delegates joined yesterday’s speakers in expressing concern over nuclear activities in the DPRK. In addition, delegates continue to call on Iran and Syria to cooperate with the IAEA, implement safeguards, and provide transparency on their nuclear programmes.

Less specifically, the Australian delegate addressed the need for all states to take action to implement the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. As over a year has passed since the adoption of the document, it is indeed timely to address progress on implementation. This issue was also raised yesterday by delegations from Switzerland, Sudan and the United Kingdom, some of whom emphasized that further progress was needed.

Discussion on a strengthened safeguards system
In this respect, strengthening the effectiveness and the efficiency of the safeguards system, as well as universalizing the additional protocol (AP), were among the discussed issues. These topics were further developed during a side-event held by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland at the Austria Centre, involving state representatives as well as IAEA staff members.

The event introduced a study entitled ‘Optimizing the IAEA Safeguards System’, published by the Centre for International Security and Arms Control Studies, and initiated discussions on enhancing the attractiveness and acceptability of the AP’s entry into force. An interesting debate followed the presentation which focused on the need to further move towards a more qualitative, objectives-driven but non-discriminatory safeguards system. Improvements of institutional practices were also at the heart of the discussions.

Last changed: Sep 21 2011 at 8:42 PM

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