UN General Assembly Backs IAEA´s "Indispensable Role"
IAEA Director General at the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo credit: Eskinder Debebe, UN/DPI)
The United Nations General Assembly affirmed its confidence in the IAEA and urged global cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, following the annual address by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. States adopted a resolution that strongly supported the Agency´s "indispensable role" in the area of technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei reported on the IAEA´s work in his statement to the General Assembly, including verification of nuclear programmes in Iran, North Korea, and Iraq.
He called on Iran to do its utmost to build confidence by suspending activities related to uranium enrichment and reprocessing-related activities, and urged Iran to pursue a policy of "maximum transparency" so that the outstanding issues could be resolved.
"This is clearly in the interest of both Iran and the international community," he stressed.
Describing the Agency´s recent work in Iran and Libya as marked by "disturbing lessons," the IAEA chief hinted at the possibility of the existence of an "extensive illicit market" for the supply of nuclear items, which, he said, "clearly thrived on demand."
Noting that technical barriers to accessibility of nuclear technology have eroded overtime, Mr. ElBaradei stressed the need to find "better ways and means" to control the production of enriched uranium and the reprocessing of plutonium.
On North Korea, he described the situation as "a serious challenge," while hoping that the six-party talks would lead the country to re-endorse the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
On the question of Iraq, Mr. ElBaradei said he hoped the Security Council would soon provide guidance on its mandate. "It is clearly important to bring the whole question of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to closure as soon as possible," he told the Assembly.
Referring to a mandate given to him by the IAEA's membership, Mr. ElBaradei said he intended to organize a forum early next year to explore the possibility of establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, hoping that such a move could strengthen efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement in the region.