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Nuclear Energy, Non-Proliferation Focus of Talks in France

Philippe Douste-Blazy and Mohamed ElBaradei

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy and Dr. ElBaradei meet in Paris in January 2007. (Credit: France Foreign Ministry)

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IAEA Head Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei recently met with high-level officials in France to discuss issues related to nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful development of nuclear power. One main focus was Iran´s nuclear programme and the UN Security Council resolution concerning it.

"Engagement, dialogue, and negotiation are the only ways toward a solution," Dr. ElBaradei emphasized. He restated his view that the status quo is unacceptable, and that Security Council sanctions are a clear expression of the concerns of the international community regarding Iran´s nuclear programme. But he added that sanctions alone would not solve the issue and underlined his desire for a negotiated solution.

Dr. ElBaradei visited France 17-18 January. In Paris, he met with France´s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy and other high-level officials, including French Political Director Gerard Araud. He also spoke at events attended by leaders in industry, government, the media, and business.

Iran´s nuclear programme and nuclear energy´s future in the context of climate change and energy development were the main topics discussed at meetings with Minister Douste-Blazy. The Ministry issued the following communiqué:

"Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy met with Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on January 18.

"France attaches special importance to IAEA action and is one of the main contributors to the Agency´s technical cooperation. The meeting afforded an opportunity to address the main proliferation problems confronting us, particularly Iran and North Korea.

"With regard to Iran, Mr. Douste-Blazy recalled that our objective is for Iran to comply with its commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and with the decisions of the Security Council and IAEA. In other words, for it to suspend its sensitive nuclear activities which are a matter of concern to the international community and have no credible civilian application in Iran today.

"In adopting resolution 1737 in December establishing sanctions for the first time, the Security Council sent a clear and unanimous message to Iran. We intend to implement without delay all the measures stipulated in the Council´s resolution. We call on Iran to accept the offer of cooperation from the Six and the proposal for "dual suspension" referred to in 1737 which would allow negotiations to begin. Mr. ElBaradei will present his report to the Security Council in February, and the Council will review Iran´s application of the Security Council and IAEA decisions.

"With regard to the development of nuclear energy in the world, Mr. Douste-Blazy recalled that France is very attached to the right, recognized in Article 4 of the NPT, to develop the use of nuclear energy for peaceful ends with due respect for non-proliferation commitments. Because of proliferation risks, the dissemination of sensitive technologies, particularly enrichment and reprocessing has to be limited. But it is appropriate on the other hand to offer credible assurances of access to nuclear fuel. France presented a concrete proposal to the IAEA last June, with five other states providing enrichment services (United States, Russia, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands) to guarantee the supply of fuel. We hope to move forward quickly on this question."

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