27 July 2011 – The head of the United Nations nuclear agency today stressed that all States must comply with their obligations under the international nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty, naming Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Syria as countries that are not in full compliance.
“My approach to nuclear verification since taking up office in December 2009 has been very straightforward – all safeguards agreements between Member States and the Agency, and other relevant obligations such as UN Security Council resolutions, should be implemented fully,” said Yukiya Amano, the Director General the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” Mr. Amano said in his keynote address to the three-day 23rd UN Conference on Disarmament Issues in Matsumoto, Japan.
He urged Iran to move towards the full implementation of all relevant obligations to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
“The nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains a matter of serious concern,” said Mr. Amano. “As you may know, since April 2009 the agency has not been able to implement any safeguards measures in that country.
“Last year’s reports about the construction of a new uranium enrichment facility and a light water reactor in the DPRK are deeply troubling,” he told the conference, hosted by the Japanese Government, the city of Matsumoto and UN Office for Disarmament Affairs through its Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific.
He called upon DPRK to fully implement all of the relevant resolutions of the IAEA General Conference and the Security Council.
On Syria, Mr. Amano stated that the IAEA had come to the to the conclusion that it is “very likely” that a building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site in 2007 was a nuclear reactor which should have been declared to the agency.
“Following my latest report on this subject, the IAEA Board of Governors last month adopted a resolution finding Syria to be in non-compliance with its safeguards obligations. I continue to engage with Syria to resolve related outstanding issues,” he added.
Mr. Amano said IAEA continues to support the creation of new nuclear weapons-free zones and to help in their implementation. He said he was consulting with IAEA Member States on the possibility of convening a forum on the relevance of existing nuclear weapon-free zones and to consider establishing such a zone in the Middle East.
He said IAEA was also committed to making nuclear techniques available in areas such as health care and nutrition, food security, the environment and water resource management.
“I made the issue of cancer in developing countries a high priority for my first year in office because I wanted to ensure that these countries derive maximum benefit from the IAEA’s expertise in nuclear medicine and radiotherapy,” he said. This year, the agency has placed special emphasis on nuclear techniques for water resources management, he added.
The conference is being attended by more than 60 delegates representing governments, academia and think tanks and international organizations.
Issues on the agenda of the meeting, whose theme this year is “Urgent and United Action towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World,” include the implementation of the action plan of last year’s review conference of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), nuclear disarmament measures by nuclear-weapons States, and the prospects for negotiated “Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.”
Enhancing nuclear safety and security will receive special attention in the light of the serious incident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was severely damaged by the massive earthquake and tsunami in March, leading to radioactive contamination of the area.
The conference will also devote a special session to peace and disarmament education, including discussions with high school students, on the importance of promoting peace and security through disarmament efforts.
The annual UN conference on disarmament affairs, which has been hosted by Japan since 1989, is recognized as an important forum for dialogue and an exchange of views on pressing security and disarmament-related issues facing the international community.