U.S. Statement on Agenda Item 9: Any Other Business
As delivered by Ambassador Jackie Wolcott
Vienna, September 12, 2019
Thank you, Madam Chair,
The United States looks forward to a successful Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference next year and stands ready to work with all NPT Parties toward a positive outcome. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty’s entry into force, which is an opportunity to reflect on accomplishments over the last 50 years, to reaffirm commitments to the NPT, and to rededicate ourselves to preserving and further strengthening the NPT regime for future generations.
The IAEA has played a central role in achieving these goals, by facilitating “the fullest possible exchange” of the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and by applying safeguards and providing the assurances that help make that exchange possible. The United States looks forward to the IAEA’s continued contributions to the NPT and to the Review Conference.
The United States supports the goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, alongside a comprehensive and durable regional peace. We are committed to supporting the regional states in the pursuit of direct, inclusive dialogue aimed at building trust and addressing the political and security obstacles that have long impeded progress.
We deeply regret the UN General Assembly’s adoption last year in a divided vote of an Arab Group-sponsored decision calling on the Secretary-General to convene a conference to negotiate a legally-binding treaty establishing a Middle East WMD-free zone. We regret that this decision was put forward in a divisive manner, without consensus support among the regional states, and based on terms that were well-known to be unacceptable to other regional parties, including Israel.
We have been clear that, in the absence of participation by all regional states, the United States will not attend the conference and will regard any outcome of it as illegitimate. Given the difference of views among Member States regarding this initiative, we encourage the Agency to carefully consider its approach toward this conference.
As I said in an earlier intervention today, we urge the regional states concerned to abandon misguided multilateral initiatives that lack consensus regional support, and instead pursue direct and inclusive dialogue on practical steps to build trust and promote a regional environment conducive to a zone.
The United States regrets that the issue of so-called “Israeli nuclear capabilities” has once again been raised in the Board, as Israel has not violated any agreements with the IAEA, and is a significant contributor to the Agency’s technical work. We note that no other Member State is singled out for such unfounded criticism. Divisive statements aimed at disparaging a state in good standing will not advance our shared goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, and can only further perpetuate the deep lack of trust among the regional states. We urge all regional states to refrain from politically-motivated statements and to instead engage their neighbors directly in an inclusive, cooperative manner about their regional security concerns.
We welcome the Secretariat’s continued transparency on the State Level Concept, but continued pressure for an immediate additional formal report is premature. The 2018 General Conference resolution requested the Director General to keep the Board fully informed as the Secretariat gains further experience with the implementation of State Level Approaches. We look forward to such efforts.
Further, to suggest this report is a pre-condition for continued development of state level approaches, undermines the authority the Direct General has to implement safeguards agreements under the Statute, safeguards agreements, and decisions of the Board.
Thank you, Madam Chair.