Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

September 9-13, 2013


Agenda Item 7(a)

Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East


U.S. statement as delivered by Ambassador Macmanus

U.S. Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency



The United States welcomes the Director General’s report on the Application of Safeguards in the Middle East.  This agenda item reflects our continuing effort to strive for a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.  This is an important and achievable goal, but not one that can be reached quickly or without significant progress toward comprehensive peace in the region.  As we have repeatedly noted, building confidence and a constructive atmosphere on these issues, including direct engagement among the regional parties, remains critical to advancing these goals.


The United States remains committed to working with the states of the region to convene a conference on a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.  We continue to work with Russia, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the conference facilitator, Finnish Under Secretary Jaako Laajava, to start a dialogue among regional parties to reach consensus on a framework that can lead to a successful conference.  We hope that consultations between the regional parties can begin soon so that the differences that remain regarding the conference can be addressed in a constructive manner.  WMD-Free Zones cannot be imposed from the outside; there is no substitute for direct engagement among the states of the region if we are to move this process forward.


The 2012 General Conference Resolution on the Application of Safeguards in the Middle East, GC(56)/RES/15, contains an operative paragraph calling on all states in the region to fulfill in good faith international obligations and commitments relating to safeguards and to cooperate fully with the IAEA.  Regrettably, not all states in the region have done so.  The two outstanding cases of noncompliance in the region are of serious and continuing concern and clear obstacles to the achievement of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.


With this is mind, we note that the Director General’s report addresses the issue of universal application of  safeguards agreements in the region, but does not address the importance of compliance with those agreements in building regional confidence.  Noncompliance by certain regional parties with their existing IAEA safeguards obligations continues to undermine efforts toward a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, and we hope future reports will address this serious issue.


As we look toward the General Conference next week, we hope that member states can once again return to a consensus approach on Middle East safeguards issues. These issues can only be advanced through sincere dialogue and engagement among the states in the region.   They themselves must build the confidence and trust needed to make progress on these important issues.


Thank you Mr. Chairman.