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25. September 2014

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA ON THE OCCASION OF THE 58TH REGULAR SESSION OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, 25 SEPTEMBER 2014, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

APPLICATION OF IAEA SAFEGUARDS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Mr. President,

South Africa thanks the Director General for his report on the Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East contained in document GC(58)/15.  South Africa further associates itself with the statement delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. President,

South Africa reiterates its firm conviction that Nuclear Weapon Free Zones (NWFZ) are critical in the prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons. We stronly hold the view that the establishment of internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free-zones enhances global and regional peace and security, strengthens the non-proliferation regime and contributes towards realizing the objectives of nuclear disarmament.  In fact, the Pelindaba Treaty explicitly states that the establishment of other Nuclear Weapons Free Zones, especially in the Middle East, would also enhance the security of the African region. 

South Africa therefore continues to support the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and indeed a zone completely free of weapons of mass destruction, in the Middle East.  To achieve this goal, previous IAEA General Conferences rightly affirmed the urgent need for all States in the Middle East to forthwith accept the application of full-scope Agency safeguards to all their nuclear activities as an important confidence-building measure.

Mr. President,

As we may all recall, the 2010 NPT Review Conference arrived at a consensus decision that called for the convening of a conference in 2012 on the Middle East, to be attended by all States of the region, on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, pursuant to the 1995 resolution.

South Africa notes with concern that this conference has not materialized. South Africa wishes to recall that the 1995 resolution on the Middle East was part of the package of decisions that enabled the indefinite extension of the Treaty in 1995. This issue becomes even more pertinent in light of the upcoming NPT Review Conference scheduled to take place in New York in 2015. The message is clear: time is running out. This conference is long overdue.

In conclusion, Mr President, South Africa continues to support the universalization of the NPT to achieve its objective which we all share, and has on several occasions called upon States that are not party to the Treaty, including Israel, to accede to the Treaty and place all their nuclear materials and facilities under the IAEA comprehensive safeguards.        

I thank you.

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