Today, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei addressed the United Nations General Assembly´s 64th Session in New York, USA.
Dr. ElBaradei outlined the ways in which the Agency has evolved over the last 12 years and the considerable progress which has been made in bringing the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology to developing countries, improving their access to energy, health care, food and clean water.
While expressing disappointment that development areas of the Agency´s work remain underfunded, and the continuing need for further legal authority to effectively undertake verification, safety and security activities, the Director General was heartened that recent political developments could lead to a world free of nuclear weapons.
"Nuclear disarmament, which failed to make any headway in the two decades since the end of the Cold War, is now back at the top of the international agenda and there is reason to hope that we may see a breakthrough," he said.
Making the case for increased funding, Dr. ElBaradei noted that, "Without development, there can be no security - the reverse is also true. By helping to address the root causes of instability and insecurity, including endemic conflicts, poor governance and poverty, we make it less likely that countries will feel the temptation to seek nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction."
The Director General advocated the use of diplomacy rather than military force and isolation in dealing with non-compliant states, and called for "a new system with effective global mechanisms for conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacemaking. An equitable and inclusive system in which security is not perceived as a zero sum game, or based on domination, or on a balance of power".
Addressing the issue of nuclear safety, the IAEA Chief said that although the possibilities of nuclear accidents cannot be eliminated, the risks can be reduced significantly by adoption and implementation of the IAEA safety standards by all countries. He expressed the hope that the standards will be made binding on all States.
This is Dr. ElBaradei´s final address to the General Assembly as IAEA Director General. He also attended the Chief Executive Board meetings and met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Dr. ElBaradei´s term of office as IAEA Director General ends on 30 November 2009.