U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Other Business

U.S. Statement as delivered by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Nicole Shampaine

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Agenda Item 11: Any Other Business

Vienna, June 7, 2018


Chair, for the sake of efficiency, please let me address a number of issues under AOB in one consolidated statement.

Nuclear Security

The United States is committed to working with the IAEA and its Member States to strengthen individual State nuclear security regimes and ensure that nuclear and other radioactive materials and facilities remain secure. We also remain focused on promoting nuclear security worldwide, as it is only together that we can be at our strongest. As we have seen even very recently in the news, malicious non-state actors will use any means possible to cause death and instill fear. Our efforts must remain focused and coordinated – to combat the most dangerous threats, whether chemical, biological, nuclear, or radioactive.

The IAEA’s role in global nuclear security is indispensable and improves coordination among all international organizations and initiatives with nuclear security mandates. We thank the IAEA for continuing to hold biannual Information Exchange Meetings (IEMs) and seeking to improve their utility for coordination and collaboration. In this regard, we commend the IAEA for promoting the most-recent IEM, in April, as a platform for other organizations and initiatives to brief Member States on their complementary efforts in the field of nuclear security. We welcome and encourage the IAEA to continue working collaboratively with these other bodies to strengthen nuclear security and address gaps. We also recognize the IAEA’s many other achievements through the tireless efforts of the Division of Nuclear Security, which are worthy of praise and strong encouragement. We encourage the IAEA to continue its regular briefings for Member States, such as the meeting held in January of this year, and also call on the IAEA to improve its publicity and outreach efforts on nuclear security and to include meaningful success stories on the impact of its international work.

We also urge the IAEA to better convey how its efforts are contributing to all Member States’ goals of strengthening nuclear security regimes, whether through major information sharing events like the larger nuclear security conferences, through bilateral and regional training, through Agency publications like the Annual Report discussed earlier this week, through publishing guidance, or through the Agency’s outreach efforts. We know that the IAEA does many great things around the world, whether to improve human health, bolster energy security, address environmental problems, or improve safety. We believe they are all linked, and that, as we have said before, nuclear security enhances all these efforts. We would thus like to see the Secretariat better publicize and discuss how these efforts interrelate, including in the Annual Report.

Finally, we would like to highlight two upcoming events. The first is the June 14 Ad Hoc Meeting on Alternative Technologies that is jointly organized by Germany, France, and the United States, and is open to all attendees interested in the role and benefits of irradiation technologies that do not use radioactive sources. Such alternatives, when paired with permanent disposal, provide permanent risk reduction while allowing for the peaceful use of ionizing radiation and can more safely and securely support agriculture, human health, and more. Looking further ahead, we encourage all IAEA Member States to attend the 2018 International Conference on the Security of Radioactive Material: The Way Forward for Prevention and Detection, taking place here at the Vienna International Center from December 3rd to 7th.

Israeli Nuclear Capabilities

Chair, 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. No other state in similar circumstances is singled out for such unfounded criticism. Divisive statements aimed at inappropriately singling out one regional state in good standing for censure do not advance our shared goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. On the contrary, such statements only serve to undermine the trust and confidence necessary to achieve meaningful progress toward that goal. We encourage all regional states to pursue direct dialogue and practical steps toward that end, rather than repeating politically-motivated debates of the past.

Middle East WMD Free Zone

Chair, the United States continues to strongly support 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 regret the political and security realities that continue to impede progress on such a zone, including the lack of trust in the region, rampant conflict and noncompliance, the deplorable use of chemical weapons by Syria, ballistic missile proliferation, and the non-recognition of Israel by some regional states.

We believe progress is possible, but only if pursued in a cooperative manner through direct dialogue and on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the regional states. For our part, the United States remains committed to supporting the regional states as they pursue practical steps and inclusive, consensus-based dialogue to advance this important goal. Efforts to artificially coerce progress on such a zone through action in multilateral flora will only undermine the regional trust and confidence needed to achieve progress. Instead we urge the regional states to engage their neighbors directly on practical measures to build trust and establish conditions conducive to such a zone. In this regard, we stress the need for resolute steps by the regional states to address Syria’s clandestine chemical weapons program and its ongoing IAEA safeguards noncompliance.

Thank you, Chair.