I am pleased to send my greetings to the fifty-fourth session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency. I also congratulate Director General Amano as he nears the successful conclusion of his first year in office. I very much welcome the keen interest of the Director General in advancing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
The international community continues to see unique opportunities to strengthen peace and security through disarmament and non-proliferation. I welcome the forward momentum in these fields - as seen in recent successes in multilateral forums, renewed interest in achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, and growing recognition of the responsibility of international organizations.
In this regard, the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferatin of Nuclear Weapons supported a strong role for the IAEA, especially with respect to advancing non-proliferation and promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The technical expertise of the Agency will certainly be of vital importance as practical solutons are sought to issues that will be faced on the road to global zero.
The NPT Review Conference endoresed important forward-looking actions, addressing nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and the implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East. I urge States to undertake concrete measures to implement these decisions.
The concept of a Nuclear Weapons Convention has gained widespread and growing support. I believe it is time for the international community to begin serious work toward exploring the technical, legal and political aspects of achieving such a goal. The IAEA can make an important contribution toward this end.
In 2012, at the request of NPT States parties, I will convene together with the co-sponsors of the 1995 Resolution of the Middle East, a Conference on establishing a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. It is not too early for the States concerned to initiate efforts aimed at ensuring that the Conference will have every opportunity to achieve a successful outcome. The IAEA will have a role to play in support of this process, drawing upon its experience and work previously undertaken.
I am pleased by the recent progress that has been made in the field of nuclear security. The summit held this year in Washington, DC endorsed a strong role for the IAEA, while underscoring the fundamental responsibility of Governments. It also revealed that much remains to be done. In particular, I wish to highlight the need to ensure the universality of the International Convention to Suppress Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. I invite all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify it.
Please accept my best wishes as you begin your important work.