Mr. President [of Austria], Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Ministers, Director-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
For the past 50 years, the International Atomic Energy Agency has carried out its mandate with professionalism and dignity. It has advanced the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and promoted economic development. It has contributed to technical progress in the fields of medicine and agriculture. It has strengthened its safeguards system. And that system has now been accepted by more than 100 States.
Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize came as richly deserved recognition of the achievements of the Agency and its distinguished Director-General, my good friend Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei. These are real achievements in improving the human condition, and in strengthening international peace and security.
At this milestone conference, you are not only reflecting on the past, but looking to the challenges ahead. Those challenges will be many and varied. Your agenda is growing every year - in nuclear disarmament; in non-proliferation; in technology for development; and in safety and security - including the prevention of nuclear terrorism.
For me, this conference is also an opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for our partnership during the 10 years I have served as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Today, I prepare to leave office with a sense of profound reassurance that the stewardship of the peaceful atom is in such competent and reliable hands. I thank you for your support, and wish you every success in your mission in the years ahead.