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IAEA Board of Governors Recommends Landmark Budget Increase


The IAEA's Board of Governors today agreed on the first IAEA significant budget increase in more than a decade and a half. The increase of $15 million over the $245 million 2003 regular budget is envisioned to grow to $25 million by 2007. The budget is subject to approval by the IAEA's General Conference in September.

"This represents a real vote of confidence in the IAEA and a recognition of the importance of our work," IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said. "It is a long overdue but very welcome first step in tackling the chronic under-funding of the IAEA."

Dr. ElBaradei, in a statement to the Board, said "The budget that has been agreed responds in a balanced manner to the priorities of the Agency in both the regulatory and developmental fields. The bulk of the increase goes to the verification programme, because that programme has been experiencing the greatest demand for additional resources and has for years been the most chronically under-funded."

In his statement, Dr. ElBaradei also addressed some recent developments of particular importance in Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

On Iraq, Dr. ElBaradei referred to the report of his recent verification mission to Iraq, which, he noted, was confined to verification of material subject to safeguards at Location C Nuclear Storage Facility near Tuwaitha. The report notes that at least 10 kg of uranium compounds could have been dispersed. "While fortunately neither the quantity nor the type of material involved would be sensitive from a proliferation point of view," Dr. ElBaradei said, "I have called upon the Authority to ensure the physical protection of the entire nuclear inventory in Iraq and to make every effort to recover, where possible, the looted material and place it under Agency safeguards."

Dr. ElBaradei noted that the Authority has informed the IAEA that it would assume responsibility for nuclear safety. The Agency mission therefore did not look into possible safety and health effects of the looting of nuclear material or radioactive sources. "In view of recurrent media reports on the subject," Dr. ElBaradei said, "I trust that the Authority will monitor any impact on the safety and health of the surrounding population and will share its findings with the Agency" and added that "the Agency stands ready to provide any assistance required."

Commenting on a future role for the IAEA in Iraq, Dr. ElBaradei said that "although the Agency's mandate in Iraq under various Security Council resolutions still stands, the Council has stated in resolution 1483 that it will revisit that mandate and we are awaiting such a review." Nonetheless, he emphasized that, "irrespective of our mandate under Security Council resolutions, we have the continuing obligation under Iraq's NPT safeguards agreement with the Agency to ensure that, in accordance with that agreement, Iraq does not have any proscribed nuclear material or activities."

On his recent visit to Iran, Dr. ElBaradei reported that the purpose of the visit was to impress on the Iranian authorities the need to clarify outstanding safeguards issues and to urge them to sign an Additional Protocol to enable the Agency to conduct in-depth and comprehensive verification. "I expressed the need for substantial progress without delay in light of the report being prepared for the Board in September," he said.

He noted that a technical meeting took place last week in Tehran with senior IAEA safeguards staff and Iranian counterparts. As well, an IAEA team will visit Tehran in the next few weeks to clarify certain aspects of the Additional Protocol.

On North Korea, Dr. ElBaradei expressed his concern about the latest reports about its reprocessing of the fuel rods that were under safeguards in the DPRK. "In my view, the situation in the DPRK is currently the most immediate and most serious threat to the nuclear non-proliferation regime," he said, "and I find it regrettable that little concrete progress on the issue appears to have been made since December, when the Agency's verification work came to a halt. I earnestly hope that the international community will urgently focus its efforts on bringing the DPRK back to the non-proliferation regime." He added that he was "encouraged by some recent efforts on the part of China to restart a dialogue towards that end" and that he remained "committed to continuing to work with all concerned parties to help achieve a comprehensive solution to this problem."

Last update: 16 Feb 2018


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