Israeli Nuclear Capabilities

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, September 13-17, 2010

Agenda Item 8(b)
Israeli Nuclear Capabilities
U.S. Statement

Ambassador Glyn Davies

Mr. Chairman,

The United States continues to regret that this issue has been brought before the Board.

Unlike other Member States whose programs are on this Board’s agenda, Israel has broken no agreements under the purview of the Agency. The Director General made this clear in his report. While the United States remains firmly committed to NPT universality, and the achievement of a Middle East free of all WMD and their means of delivery, singling out Israel for censure is inappropriate and in our view counterproductive to those goals.  Repeatedly raising this issue can only serve to further politicize the IAEA, and undermine prospects for a successful conference in 2012 on a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, as called for by the NPT Review Conference.

We are also very much concerned that this agenda item remains a distraction from other pressing issues before the Agency.  Foremost among these is Iran, which stands in violation of its NPT and IAEA safeguards obligations, and of resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council.  Iran represents the greatest threat of proliferation in the Middle East, and the most serious impediment to the integrity of IAEA safeguards.  The Director General’s latest report documents Iran’s compounding defiance and continuing refusal to cooperate fully with the IAEA.

The Board must also maintain focus on Syria, which has now blocked the IAEA’s investigation of Dair Alzour for over two years. Since safeguards inspectors first discovered undeclared chemically-processed uranium there in June of 2008, Syria’s complete refusal to cooperate on Dair Alzour only deepens our concern about the facility’s intended purpose.

As there is no basis for the Board to take any action on Israel, this agenda item is at best a distraction from the serious issues before the Board. A continuing and inappropriate focus on singling out Israel fails to form the basis for approaching the Middle East issues constructively, and will not be conducive to a successful conference in 2012. At a time when the world has renewed hopes for Middle East peace, and the potential for progress building on the NPT Review conference is possible, now is not the time for ‘business as usual.’

Mr. Chairman,

I am also compelled to comment on the NAM request for the Director General to issue an addendum to his report on Israeli Nuclear Capabilities. The United States viewed the Director General’s report as an appropriate discharge of the mandate levied on him by the General Conference in last year’s Israeli Nuclear Capabilities resolution. The Director General described the Agency’s mandate in Israel and the extent to which the IAEA is positioned under that mandate to provide the Board information on Israel’s nuclear program. We believe it would be inappropriate for the Director General to treat issues beyond his technical mandate and see no need for a new annex to the INC report.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.