IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 5: Any Other Business Consolidated Statement
U.S. statement as delivered by Ambassador Jackie Wolcott
Vienna, Austria, November 20, 2020
Thank you, Madam Chair, Good morning.
We continue to look forward to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (RevCon), which has now been postponed until 2021. The RevCon provides an opportunity for us all to celebrate the first 50 years of the Treaty and to dedicate ourselves to the hard work of strengthening and maintaining the Treaty for its next 50 years, and beyond. The United States stands ready to work closely with RevCon President-designate Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen and NPT Parties to use the extra time afforded us to further develop the elements of a positive outcome for the RevCon.
The Treaty’s 50th anniversary in 2020 has reminded all of us of what has been accomplished and the key role the IAEA continues to play in helping realize the goals of the NPT. The nonproliferation assurances provided by the NPT and IAEA safeguards, including the combination of a comprehensive safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol as the de facto safeguards standard, have made possible the remarkable development and spread of peaceful uses nuclear technology.
The United States regrets that the issue of so-called “Israeli nuclear capabilities” has once again been raised in this Board, as Israel has not violated any agreements with the IAEA and is a significant contributor to the Agency’s work. Divisive statements aimed at a state in good standing will not advance our shared goal of a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. Rather, such statements only serve to perpetuate the deep lack of trust in the region. We urge the regional states concerned to refrain from politically motivated statements and initiatives, and to engage their neighbors directly in an inclusive, cooperative manner about their regional security concerns.
The United States supports the long-term goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, alongside a comprehensive and durable regional peace. We remain committed to working with the regional states to advance this important, shared goal. We are convinced that progress can only be achieved if pursued in a cooperative, voluntary manner through direct dialogue and on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the regional states.
We urge the regional states concerned to abandon misguided initiatives that lack consensus regional support and instead to engage their neighbors directly on practical measures to build trust, enhance transparency, and promote an environment conducive to such a zone. The United States will support any initiatives in this regard that have consensus support among all the regional states and are based in direct and inclusive dialogue.
The United States places great value on the Agency’s role in coordinating and facilitating efforts to strengthen the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials across the globe. We appreciate the November 3 update on plans to expand Agency capabilities by constructing a nuclear security demonstration and training center at Seibersdorf. While such a center holds great potential, the Secretariat has clearly indicated significant extrabudgetary needs while describing the center’s ambitious scope. We thank the Agency for this information and believe more consultation with Member States is necessary for the center, especially given its resource implications. This will help ensure that the center can meet IAEA and Member State needs without being a long-term financial burden.
We also wish to briefly highlight the upcoming Conference to Review the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. We continue to encourage all Parties to participate in and support the Review Conference preparations, including next month’s Preparatory Committee meeting. We also call on all states who are not yet party to ratify the CPPNM and its Amendment.
The Review Conference will likely occur during negotiations for the next Nuclear Security Plan, and we hope that the Plan can help highlight the IAEA’s valuable role in nuclear security. The Director General has said that “nuclear security is much too important” and that the IAEA should be “a real focal point in practice and not just in name.” We agree. Furthermore, we appreciate the Director General announcing his choice for the next Director of the Division of Nuclear Security. We look forward to continued productive collaboration with the Division.
Lastly, Madam Chair,
The United States has long been a proponent of making public the internal audit reports of international organizations, including those of the IAEA, and consider this a best practice in the area of transparency and accountability. We therefore welcomed the Director General’s announcement in September to make future annual OIOS internal audit reports publicly available, pending the development of a standard procedure to do so. We look forward to being updated on the Secretariat’s progress in this regard and to the public release of the 2020 OIOS internal audit report as well as all subsequent annual internal audit reports. The United States appreciates this demonstration of the Agency’s commitment to sound financial and administrative management in line with the practice of numerous other international organizations.
Thank you, Madam Chair.