Capping his Latin American trip with the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Brazilian - Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC), IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano extended his congratulations to both governments, noting that the ABACC has proven itself to be a very successful regional framework in the nuclear field.
In his address to the commemorative gathering which included Héctor Marcos Timerman, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Argentina, and Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, the Director General recalled that following the initial 1980 agreement between Argentina and Brazil on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as well as subsequent agreements, ABACC was established in 1991. It was a step which the Director General described as "imaginative and courageous", requiring "determination and vision from both governments". That courageous decision has been rewarded with success, he noted, and "the IAEA is proud to be ABACC's partner".
Notably, the Brazilian - Argentine cooperation "opened up huge opportunities for both nations, economically and politically, but also for the rest of Latin America," he said. The bi-national agreement was "essential in paving the way for the entry into force of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which created a nuclear-weapons-free zone covering all 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean," he remarked, and stated that the Treaty inspired four similar nuclear-weapons-free zones in Africa, Central Asia, South-East Asia and the South Pacific. Together, these nuclear-weapons-free zones encompass nearly two-thirds of the countries of the world.
Accompanied by both Foreign Ministers, the Director General also paid a courtesy visit to the Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with whom they discussed ABACC's achievements of ABACC and its cooperation with the IAEA.
The IAEA cooperates with ABACC to verify that nuclear material that could be used to manufacture weapons of mass destruction is used exclusively for peaceful purposes. Currently, 67 nuclear installations are under IAEA/ABACC safeguards in Argentina and Brazil.
Both Agencies hold regular meetings to review the cooperation, examine the development of safeguards methods and techniques, discuss safeguards implementation issues and conduct joint training sessions.