I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.
We are pleased to support the Resolution on the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a report which again reaffirms the 'indispensable role of the Agency with regard to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and in assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses, as well as in technology transfer and in nuclear verification, safety and security'. We also note with satisfaction the amount of strong support that was expressed for the Agency's work.
The EU is fully committed to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. We reiterate our firm support for the full, complete, and effective implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, in accordance with Article VI of the NPT, and an important element in the development of nuclear energy applications for peaceful purposes. The EU reaffirms its full support for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East and is funding a UNIDIR project to compile ideas for the way forward.
The IAEA safeguards system is a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and plays an indispensable role in the implementation of the NPT. We underline the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council in cases of non- compliance. The EU further recognises the serious proliferation challenges which continue to be a threat to international security, and the need to find peaceful and diplomatic solutions to them.
The EU expresses its resolute commitment to and continued support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is determined to continue working with the international community to preserve the JCPOA, unanimously endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231(2015). In this context, the EU deeply regrets the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and the re-imposed sanctions, and calls on all countries to refrain from taking actions that impede the implementation of JCPOA commitments. The EU is deeply concerned that, as confirmed by the IAEA, Iran has exceeded the JCPOA stockpile limit of enriched uranium and is enriching uranium above the level of maximum 3.67% allowed by the JCPOA. We are also deeply concerned about the recent activities of Iran, as reported by the IAEA, regarding the expansion of its centrifuge R&D activities and the preparatory work to feed two cascades of IR-1 centrifuges in Fordow, as well as regarding the pending questions on the completeness of Iran's safeguards-relevant information, and the incident about one IAEA safeguards inspectors. These activities are extremely worrisome. We note Iran's stated intention to remain within the JCPOA. We urge Iran to reverse the aforementioned activities and return to full JCPOA implementation without delay, and to cooperate fully and in a timely manner with the IAEA, particularly on matters relating to the implementation of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol. The EU restates its full support to the IAEA long-term mission of verification and monitoring of Iran's nuclear-related commitments and recalls the importance of ensuring the necessary means for the Agency to carry out its role.
The EU urges Syria to cooperate promptly and transparently with the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues including through concluding and implementing an Additional Protocol as soon as possible.
The EU continues to call for the universalisation of Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements together with Additional Protocols without delay. The EU strongly supports the continued improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards implementation through implementation of State-level Approaches. Furthermore, the EU is actively supporting the Agency's safeguards system through the EC Safeguards Support Programme, the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation and through Member States' Support Programmes.
The EU and its Member States attach utmost importance to the worldwide implementation and continuous improvement of nuclear safety. We invite all countries to demonstrate their commitment to safety and to find safe radioactive waste management solutions. In 2018, the EU Member States and other participating countries completed the first Topical Peer Review on Ageing Management of Nuclear Power Plants and Research Reactors under the EU Directive for Safety We stand ready to share our experience during the 8th Convention on Nuclear Safety Review Meeting in 2020 The EU has also provided its expertise via so-called stress tests in a number of neighbouring countries, with a view to building a more robust, sustainable and transparent nuclear safety framework worldwide.
The EU stresses the need to continue strengthening nuclear security worldwide in order to prevent nuclear terrorism and the misuse of nuclear and radioactive material. To that end, we highlight the importance of becoming party to and fully implementing the relevant treaties, the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and underline the importance of the UNSC Resolutions 1540 and 2325. In the context of the EU strategy against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, we are actively supporting international initiatives, which contribute to strengthening nuclear security. For the period 2014-2020, the EU dedicates more than € 100 million to the EU’s regional Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence initiative.
The EU strongly supports the central role of the IAEA in improving the global nuclear security framework by strengthening international cooperation, offering advisory services and providing direct assistance to Member States. EU welcomes the ongoing preparations of the 2020 International Conference on Nuclear Security and encourages all IAEA Member States to participate at ministerial level and to commit to an ambitious and forward-looking Ministerial Declaration. We further call on IAEA Member States to ensure the availability of sufficient resources for the IAEA nuclear security activities. Together with its Member States, the EU is among the biggest donors to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund and our funding helped the Agency to assist countries to upgrade and ensure the physical protection of selected facilities and to improve their national regulatory infrastructure.
The EU remains firmly committed to the benefits of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and ensuring that high standards of safety, security and safeguards are implemented to protect our collective non-proliferation interests. The EU has supported the establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank with around € 25 million. We noted with satisfaction that the Agency aims to have the LEU delivered to the Storage Facility before the end of 2019.
Finally, Mr. President,
The EU and its Member States continue to be strong supporters of the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Programme, and are the second largest contributor to the TC Programme. We strongly support the activities of the Agency to develop radiation and nuclear technologies and their application for the achievement of the SDGs. Nuclear technologies can make life-changing contributions to the health and well-being of people across the world. The European Union supports the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology, also through technical expertise and with an average contribution of €15 million Euro per year.
Thank you, Mr. President.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.