IAEA Board of Governors Meeting – Agenda Item 12 – Any Other Business (AOB)
U.S. Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, March 10, 2023
The United States regrets that the issue of so-called “Israeli nuclear capabilities” has once again been raised in the Board meeting, as Israel has not violated any agreements with the IAEA and is a significant contributor to the Agency’s work. Divisive statements criticizing a state in good standing at the IAEA will not advance our shared goal of a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. Such statements are increasingly out of touch with regional, political, and security realities and only serve to perpetuate the lack of trust among regional states. We urge the regional states concerned to refrain from politically motivated statements and to engage their neighbors directly in an inclusive, cooperative manner about their regional security concerns.
The United States continues to support the long-term goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, alongside a comprehensive and durable regional peace. We are committed to working with the regional states to advance this goal in an inclusive, consensus-based manner that takes into account the legitimate security concerns of all regional states.
The United States continues to follow closely developments regarding the UN Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction. While the stated goals of this initiative are noble, we continue to question whether the UN Conference in its current form can serve as an effective forum for dialogue among all the regional states. Given the absence of participation by all regional states, the United States has declined to participate in this Conference. We remain closely engaged with all regional parties and stand ready to actively support any initiatives to advance the goal of a weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East that has consensus regional support.
The United States reiterates its strong support for the collaboration between the Government of Japan and the IAEA so that all decommissioning efforts at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant — including the expected dispersal of the treated water — remain comprehensive, credible, and transparent. We would like to thank the IAEA’s Fukushima task force for its continued efforts to impartially review and report on Japan’s proposed activities and its assistance in monitoring the safe and transparent implementation of the plan.
The United States reiterates our understanding that Japan’s approach is safe, as it appears to be in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards. We encourage Japan to continue its transparent practices of sharing information with the international community on the status of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. We support the close coordination between Japan and the IAEA in preparation for and implementation of Japan’s plan to disperse the treated water into the Pacific Ocean when it is safe to do so this year.
I am pleased to announce that the United States recently contributed another $200,000 to support the project titled “Review of Safety-Related Aspects of Handling ALPS-Treated Water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.” We look forward to voluntary contributions from other Member States to help advance this project’s success.
The United States aligns itself with the statement made by Mexico on behalf of the Group of Friends for Women in Nuclear. Please allow me to add a few comments in my national capacity.
The United States is proud to support the Director General’s work to enhance gender equality at the IAEA. These efforts improve representation in the workplace, contribute to a more diverse workforce, improve the effectiveness of the Agency’s work, and advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. We applaud the Director General’s launch on International Women’s Day of the Lise Meitner Fellowship Program and are proud to support this new initiative, which is one more concrete step towards more mainstreamed gender equality and the resultant benefits to the workforce as a whole. The exceptional challenges that the IAEA faces require an exceptional staff, and the United States is happy to observe and support the continuation of these recruitment, retention, and workplace culture goals. We urge all Member States to show their support for the IAEA in this regard.
Thank you, Chair.
U.S. Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate – March 2023 BOG Agenda 12 – Any Other Business (AOB) (PDF)