I am pleased to send my greetings to the fifty-third session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei for his many years of outstanding service to humanity and to international peace and security. I also extend my full support to the new Director General, Ambassador Yukiya Amano, as he prepares to confront the many challenges ahead.
The IAEA has a strong foundation upon which to build. It has expanded international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while reducing the risks of nuclear proliferation and terrorism. It has cooperated closely with other international organizations and has a longstanding working relationship with the UN Secretariat.
As you know, on 24 September, the Security Council will convene a high-level summit to address nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This historic event will provide a timely opportunity to revitalize the global disarmament and non-proliferation agenda and to reaffirm the contributions of the IAEA in the areas of verification, transparency and irreversibility.
Concerns over the dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation have highlighted the importance of the Agency´s safeguards system and the need for universal adherence to the additional protocol. I hope that the 25 non-nuclear-weapon States that are party to the NPT but which have not brought their comprehensive safeguards agreements into force will do so before the 2010 NPT Review Conference. I urge all parties to cooperate fully with the IAEA in resolving issues that might arise relating to safeguards agreements.
This General Conference also provides a useful opportunity to reaffirm international support for resuming the six-party talks aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Nuclear safety and security are also essential for expanding the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. New levels of cooperation will also be needed to address challenges such as spent fuel, waste management and transportation. Member States have also made constructive proposals, including to enhance the assurance of nuclear fuel supply.
Great progress is possible in all these fields. Please accept my best wishes for a successful conference.