29. September 2016
STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR TEBOBO SEOKOLO, GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA TO THE IAEA, 60th REGULAR SESSION OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE, 29 SEPTEMBER 2016, VIENNA, AUSTRIA
AGENDA ITEM: APPLICATION OF IAEA SAFEGUARDS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
South Africa associates itself with the statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The South African delegation wishes to commend the Director General for the efforts he has undertaken to encourage the consideration of new ideas and approaches to facilitate the implementation of successive General Conference resolutions on the application of comprehensive Agency safeguards on all nuclear activities in the Middle East.
We note that the Director General’s report indicates that barring Israel, all states of the Middle East are parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and as such have committed to accept comprehensive safeguards in accordance with Article III of the Treaty. We further note that the report also refers to the State of Palestine, whose accession to the Treaty in 2015, which we warmly welcome.
The South African delegation has consistently reiterated its full support for the centrality of the NPT, particularly the balance between its three pillars of nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Similarly, we continue to be a strong advocate for the universalization of the NPT towards the achievement and maintenance of a world free of nuclear weapons.
We therefore wish to reiterate our call for Israel to join the NPT and to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA comprehensive safeguards. Such action on Israel’s part would facilitate the implementation of the resolution adopted by the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference on the establishment of the Middle East Zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction that was subsequently reaffirmed in 2000 and 2010. It is important to recall in this regard that this resolution was an essential element of the outcome the 1995 Review Conference, which amongst others, is the basis on which states like South Africa agreed to the indefinite extension of the Treaty.
As such, we wish to emphasize that the resolution remains valid until such time that its goals and objectives are realized. It is our strong conviction that it is in the realization of the goals and objectives of the resolution, which would greatly contribute towards achieving the peace and security the peoples of the region and the international community have long called for.
I thank you.