Topnews, Statements

25. September 2017


Fellow Governors of the Board and Distinguished Colleagues

Incoming Chair of the Board, Ambassador Djumala of Indonesia

Director General Amano and his team

Ladies and Gentlemen

As our term of office as Chair of the IAEA Board of Governors comes to an end, we extend our sincerest gratitude to you all for your unstinting support and cooperation during the past year.

In particular, we thank the African Group - on whose behalf we served -  for entrusting us with this important task.

To the Vice-Chairs, Ambassador Hasans of Latvia and Ambassador de Salazar Serantes of Spain, we recognise your sterling efforts in assisting us to steer the ship in the right direction.

We have also greatly benefitted by drawing on the expertise of some of our esteemed colleagues; in particular Governors:  Lisolette Plesner of Denmark, Marcel Fortuna Biato of Brazil as well as Rafael Grossi of Argentina who facilitated consultations on some complex matters that served before the Board. We are greatly indebted to these colleagues for their commendable efforts.

We further wish to express our appreciation to the Director - General for the strategic support and advice he provided to the Board to enable it to discharge its duties. We once more congratulate him on his re-appointment and wish him well in his renewed mandate.

It would be remiss of us if we did not acknowledge the diligence and professionalism of the conference services, the interpreters, precis writers and the Secretariat of the Policy-Making Organs, ably led by Ms Aruni Wijewardane.

Dear Colleagues;

In discharging our mandate as Chair of the Board, we always sought to ensure that the Vienna Spirit of consensus guided the Board’s deliberations and informed the decisions we adopted. We were always conscious of the fact that as the Board we carry an enormous responsibility to act on behalf of all Member States and as such, we must take into account their collective voices and views, at all times ensuring that the IAEA truly belongs to all.

The importance of engagement and dialogue is at the core of my country’s identity and has brought us to where we are as a nation. This approach is rooted in South Africa’s history and is echoed by the words of the liberation stalwart and internationalist, the late Oliver Reginald Tambo, when he affirmed that as South Africans:

“We seek to live in peace with our neighbours and the peoples of the world in conditions of equality, mutual respect and equal advantage.”

It is through the application of these principles that we were able to nudge the Board to reach agreement, by consensus, on a number of strategic matters such as the appointment of the Director General; the Medium Term Strategic Framework; the Programme and Budget and Technical Cooperation Fund Target; the Guidance on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources; and the Nuclear Security Plan. We sincerely thank all Member States for their cooperation in the successful conclusion of these and other matters before the Board. It is our wish that this spirit should continue to guide the work of the Board in the years ahead.

Finally, it now remains for me to pass the baton to our esteemed colleague Ambassador Djumala, Governor of Indonesia, a country with which South Africa enjoys strong fraternal and enduring relations. We are convinced that with his vast experience and diplomatic skill he will continue to build upon the foundation  laid, befitting of the great tradition associated with Indonesia’s renowned commitment to advancing multi lateralism.

I thank you

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