I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia – and the associated countries – Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, as well as the EFTA countries of the European Economic Area Iceland and Norway, align themselves with this statement.
It is with great interest that the European Union acknowledges the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency for the year 2001. We welcome the statement of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in which he provided additional information on the main developments in the activities of the Agency during 2002. Using this opportunity, I would like to congratulate the Secretariat of the IAEA and the Director General Mohamed El Baradei for the excellent work the Agency does.
The draft resolution on the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency presented to us represents broad agreement among member states in Vienna, and we hope it can be adopted by consensus. We welcome the outcome of the 46th IAEA General Conference held in Vienna on 16-20 September 2002.
The Agency has an essential role to play in combating nuclear terror. We commend the Director General and the Secretariat for quickly responding to this challenge. Immediately by reinforcing and reorienting some ongoing activities. And shortly thereafter by presenting plans for activities aimed at helping Member States to secure a stringent nuclear security framework for nuclear installations and materials.
The primary responsibility for ensuring the necessary nuclear security clearly rests with Member States and the activities of the Agency can only be in support of national measures to counter nuclear terrorism. Technical cooperation programmes are already playing an important role in upgrading safety and security and will also in this context be a valuable instrument.
An international nuclear non-proliferation regime of a universal character backed by a strong international safeguards system requiring States to properly account for and control nuclear material are an absolutely essential basis for international efforts to maintain our collective security. It is the responsibility of Member States to promote the universality of the non-proliferation regime and to adhere to the applicable, international instruments.
The NPT is the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, the essential international instrument of which is the IAEAs safeguards system. At the first session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2005 Review Conference in April this year, the responsibility of the IAEA in further strengthening both the comprehensive safeguards agareement and the additional protocol components of the regime was strongly underlined. The EU, noting the concerns expressed by the Director General in this regard, recognises the need for a properly funded safeguards system that is both effective and cost efficient and is prepared to consider growth in the safeguards budget whenever such requirements can be demonstrated.
All the Member States of the EU have made a clear engagement in the ratification process for their respective Additional Protocols – a process most of them have finalised. We have committed ourselves to have the Protocols of the EU Member States enter into force simultaneously.
We consider that Additional Protocols are an integral part of the IAEA safeguards systems and that adherence to them is an essential means of demonstrating fulfilment of the obligations in Article III of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Therefore the EU urges all States that have not yet signed and ratified the Additional Protocol to do so.
We share the concern of the Director General that 48 States, which are parties to the NPT, have not yet entered into safeguards agreements. We call upon these States to fulfil the obligation they have entered into under Article III of the Treaty to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements.
The EU wishes to recall its concern regarding the continued existence of un-safeguarded nuclear facilities and material in States not parties to the NPT or equivalent treaties. The EU calls upon those States to place all their nuclear activities under the IAEA safeguards.
The situation in Iraq remains a major concern for the EU. Three and a half years have now passed since the IAEA was last able to implement its mandate in Iraq. The Agency is therefore unable to provide any assurances regarding Iraqi compliance with its obligations. The EU underlines that, on return to Iraq, the Agency must in particular resolve the key issue of whether Iraqs nuclear activities and capabilities have changed since December 1998.
The EU reiterates its demand that Iraq adheres fully to all the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, especially that it lets the UN inspectors return to Iraq without any precondition and that it fully cooperates with the inspection teams in all aspects, including granting immediate and unhindered access to all sites and facilities the inspectors might want to investigate.
We are deeply concerned over reports that the DPRK has admitted conducting a clandestine nuclear weapon programme. The European Union urges North Korea to immediately offer clarification on the issues. Such a programme is a serious breach of the North Korean commitments under the NPT, the IAEA safeguard agreement as well as the Joint Declaration between North and South Korea on Denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the Agreed Framework. It also calls into question the KEDO project.
The EU calls on North Korea to take immediate steps to comply with international non-proliferation commitments and eliminate its nuclear weapons programme in a verifiable manner, in accordance with its IAEA Safeguards Agreement. The EU stands ready to work with all parties to find a peaceful resolution to this situation, which constitutes a serious development for peace and stability internationally and regionally.
The EU attaches great importance to a high level of nuclear safety worldwide and untertakes to maintain a high level of nuclear safety in the Union. The EU Member States and the associated countries closely co-operate in this field.
The EU attaches great importance to Technical Cooperation as one of the pillars of the activities of the Agency. Our support is well demonstrated by the very high level of voluntary contributions provided by EU Member States, which in 2002 will amount to approx. 35 % of the total contributions. The EU continues to wish to see adequate financing for these important activities and will contribute constructively next year when the Board of Governors will review the funding mechanism for technical cooperation.
The EU is well aware of the increasingly difficult context in which the Agency has to finance its statutory obligations under the regular budget. Every effort should be made to ensure that the Agency has the financial resources to do so. The EU is concerned that an important number of Member States of the IAEA do not live up to their financial obligations to the Agency. The EU strongly urges all Member States to pay in full and on time their assessed contribution to the regular budget as well as outstanding contributions from previous years which now amount to approx. USD 18 million.
The EU proposes to introduce in the Agency a single currency system based on the Euro taking effect from the 2004-05 biennium. The fact, that the overwhelming majority of its expenditure occurs in Euro, underlines the advantages of a Euro based financial system. In our opinion this system will substantially contribute to improve transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in the Agencys management of its financial resources of both the regular budget as well as extra budgetary funds. We appreciate the work done so far by the Secretariat to examine the issue and to provide Member States with information on the provisional findings. We look forward to a comprehensive report later this year in order to reach an agreement on this proposal during the first half of 2003.
The EU fully supports the Director General in his continued efforts to improve the effectiveness of the Agency. A result-based approach to budgeting requires a strong management and a clear definition of cross cutting activities. Enhanced cooperation and coordination between departments should be encouraged leading to more synergy and better use of resources human as well as financial. In this context, we welcome the Director Generals decision to engage an outside management consultant to review the achievements so far and to suggest further measures to be taken.
Finally, let me assure you that the EU and the States that have associated themselves with this statement fully supports the role that IAEA plays as the competent authority for verification of compliance with the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as well as its role in promoting the safe usage of nuclear technologies for peaceful application in those Member States that have chosen to use that technology.
Thank you, Mr. President.