18 January 2017, New York – Briefing by H.E. Mr. João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in her capacity as the Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to the Security Council Agenda item: Non-Proliferation
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1. Thank you for giving me the floor. I am honoured to address the Council today on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in her capacity as the Coordinator of the Joint Commission established by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), hereafter referred to as the “Coordinator”.
2. In today’s world the number of challenges we have to face prevents us from focusing on the successes we have achieved. This debate comes just two days after the first anniversary of the Implementation Day of the JCPOA. This was a major achievement. It was born of the efforts of the E3+3 coordinated by the EU High Representative and Iran but it now belongs to the international community through its endorsement by this Council. In the past many predicted we would never get an agreement, or even if we did that it would not last for long. Not only did we reach an agreement but we are now clearly making progress in implementing it. Since Implementation Day, important steps have been taken by all parties towards the successful implementation of the deal. In the course of this year, all JCPOA participants have fulfilled their commitments. Iran has implemented its nuclear obligations, and the UN, the EU and the US have lifted the agreed nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions.
3. Iran’s adherence to its commitments is being closely monitored and was confirmed by four IAEA reports up to now. This is essential to deliver on the goal of a civilian nuclear programme exclusively for peaceful purposes. The lifting of sanctions has also led to a surge in trade and investment with Iran. To give just an example bilateral trade between the EU and Iran has risen by a staggering 63% over the first three quarters of 2016. More efforts need to be done to make sure that these benefits are felt by our populations. But the trend is clear and progress undeniable.
4. However, JCPOA implementation is an on-going task and we expect full and effective implementation throughout the lifetime of the agreement by all sides. The EU High Representative, as the coordinator of the Joint Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this deal, remains committed to this goal. The EU High Representative or her designated representative has already chaired six JCPOA Joint Commission meetings which monitored and provided guidance on implementation issues. At the last meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission on 10 January 2017 all sides reaffirmed their strong commitment to continued full and effective implementation of the JCPOA. The rigorous implementation of commitments by all sides is the best way to continue to build trust, to strengthen the JCPOA and to overcome the hurdles that are part of all comprehensive and far-reaching deals.
5. I would also like at this point to extend my gratitude to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as H.E. Román Oyarzun Marchesi, who served as the Facilitator for implementation of UNSC resolution 2231 (2015) in 2016, for the excellent cooperation since Implementation Day. I would also like to welcome the new Secretary-General António Guterres, as well as H. E. Sebastiano Cardi, Ambassador of Italy, who will serve as the Facilitator for implementation of UNSC resolution 2231 (2015) in 2017. Once again let me thank our colleagues in the UN Security Council Affairs Division for their unwavering support regarding the establishment of the Procurement Channel. I would also like to take note of the latest report of the UN Secretary General on implementation of UNSC resolution 2231 (2015).
6. I will now focus on the work of the Procurement Working Group. The EU High Representative, as Coordinator of the Joint Commission and the Procurement Working Group, is responsible for the smooth operation of this newly established mechanism that has been tasked to review proposals by States seeking to engage in activities with Iran that are for nuclear and non-nuclear civilian end-uses. On Implementation Day, the Joint Commission established the Procurement Working Group that is comprised of E3+3 and Iran representatives and coordinated by the EU High Representative. The Group has been in full operation since then. First proposals received through the procurement channel have been reviewed and approved. This is a clear demonstration that the established procurement mechanism works.
7. Transparency has been one of our guiding principles during the negotiations and a cornerstone of the JCPOA. According to para 6.10 of the JCPOA Annex IV, the Joint Commission shall report to the UNSC every six months on the status of the Procurement Working Group’s decisions and on any implementation issues. In this context, on 23 December 2016, the Coordinator of the Procurement Working Group submitted to the Facilitator, on behalf of the Joint Commission, its second report. This report aims at providing the Facilitator and UNSC Members with an overview of the work undertaken by the Procurement Working Group from 7 July to 22 December 2016. The report has been circulated as a document of the Security Council (S/2016/1113).
8. During this period, the Participants of the Procurement Working Group (E3+3 and Iran) coordinated by the EU High Representative have continued working intensively to further develop the modalities of operation for the PWG. Participants have held six meetings, and in one of these meetings the IAEA participated as an observer. The Group has made great efforts to be as transparent as possible without compromising confidentiality, by reaching out to third States and promoting a better understanding of its aims, objectives and review process.
9. We have taken note of the points raised by third States during these outreach meetings. In this respect, during this period, the Joint Commission has updated several documents relating to the work of the Procurement Working Group. All of these documents have been published on the dedicated web page of the United Nations Security Council on resolution 2231 (2015). The Procurement Working Group also responded to an enquiry put forward by one State, through the Security Council.
10. The way we have undertaken so far has proven that it is possible to reach agreements even on the most contentious issues and to implement them, provided that there is a will. Let me conclude by reiterating the EU’s resolute willingness to stick to the JCPOA and work for its success throughout its lifetime. We call on all the other parties to do likewise and to remain committed to the full implementation of the JCPOA, as well as of resolution 2231 in all its dimensions. This is essential to continue building trust amongst all and shore up multilateral diplomacy.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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