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Topnews, Statements

09. June 2022

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 9 JUNE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 9: SAFETY, SECURITY AND SAFEGUARDS IN UKRAINE

Mr Chairperson

First of all, allow me to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for the continued updates on the situation around Ukraine’s nuclear facilities as well as that provided to the Board in his Introductory Statement. South Africa appreciates the leadership shown by the Director General and the IAEA as the first international organisation to deploy in the conflict zone leading from the front.

Mr Chair

South Africa bemoans the conflict in Ukraine and we reiterate our firm rejection of the illegal use of force under all circumstances and our unwavering commitment to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter. 

We call on both sides to resolve this conflict through earnest engagement and dialogue in good faith with the aim to find a diplomatic solution.South Africa is deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis that continues to worsen, especially the severe impact on the most vulnerable of society. Furthermore, the wanton destruction of infrastructure as well as the environment, has far reaching consequences that will be felt for ages by the poorest of the poor far beyond the borders of the conflict.

Mr Chairperson,

We also reiterate that the responsibility for the safety and security of a State’s nuclear facilities lies entirely with that State and should not be interfered with under any circumstances. South Africa therefore urges the Russian Federation to return the command and full control of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities to the Ukrainian regulator.

South Africa strongly supports the efforts of the Agency in the execution of its mandate by supporting Ukraine to strengthen the safety and security of its vast nuclear programme.  In addition, we are impressed that the Agency has been able to restart its verification activities. Conducting this work during the current conflict is unprecedented and we want to assure the Director General and the personnel of the IAEA deployed in Ukraine of our gratitude and unwavering support.

My delegation is therefore troubled that the IAEA access to the ZNPP in the conflict zone has been curtailed and therefore unable to verify the nuclear material, and to evaluate the safety and security at the plants. As we stated perviously the chances of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine is unfortunately very real and we call on the parties to the conflict to facilitate the safe access for the Agency to all the nuclear facilities they have requested to visit.

South Africa would like to caution against the politicisation of the IAEA’s work, and call on all the parties not to request the Agency to conduct activities or take actions beyond its mandate.

Mr Chairperson,

In conclusion, South Africa, further notes with concern that other long-standing conflicts have not received the massive attention enjoyed by this conflict. Whilst we do not deny the deplorable situation in Ukraine, it is important that global outrage is equally distributed to all conflicts  Palestine and Sahrawi for example. 

I thank you.

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