Speech by Russia’s permanent representative to the IAEA Vladimir Voronkov at the IAEA Board of Governors on the point titled “sundry” in response to the invitation of the IAEA to take part in the talks on drafting a convention on the ban of nuclear weapons.
In his opening address to the current session of the Board of Governors IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano mentioned the IAEA’s possible participation in drafting a convention on the ban of nuclear weapons, making a reference to the invitation from the organisers of the talks. The same invitation was made today by the representative of the Latin American and Caribbean Group. We are absolutely against any involvement of the IAEA in verifying nuclear disarmament. Nuclear disarmament is not mentioned either among the IAEA’s goals nor functions determined in Articles I and II of its Charter. Therefore, any attempts to involve the IAEA in the talks that contradict its Charter and are aimed at creating some kind of “shadow” verification rules are counterproductive.
According to the unanimous decision of the IAEA 60th General Conference, nuclear disarmament issues may be raised at all relevant forums in line with the relevant legal and political commitments of its member states. The IAEA is not such a forum.
Russia does not accept the initiative that is included into a draft convention on a ban of nuclear weapons, which would put the system of IAEA safeguards, based on its safeguards agreements with individual states, at variance with the goals of these agreements. We note with regret that the initiators of the convention are challenging the fundamental principles of the functioning of the IAEA safeguards system by eroding its goals and tasks. Implementation of the said initiative may open a nuclear Pandora’s box and block the IAEA’s steady work in all areas, including that of verification.
I would like to address once again those who have initiated the IAEA’s involvement in the talks on a ban of nuclear weapons, partners and also friends. Have you figured out the potential negative consequences of this initiative for the IAEA and your own countries? After all, this issue pertains to the future of the IAEA. Moreover, the attempts to undermine the agency’s functional and financial potentialities may create a new threat of nuclear proliferation. As we know, the road to hell is often paved with the best intentions.
In conclusion I would like to reaffirm that Russia is fully committed to the goal of building a world free of nuclear weapons. At the same time we are calling on all advocates of a nuclear-free world to concentrate on creating conditions that would really contribute to a discussion of potential further steps in the area of nuclear weapons.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.