Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani, Permanent Representative to the IAEA and Head of the Delegation of Afghanistan, at the IAEA’s International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts.
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Your Excellency Dr. János Martonyi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary,
H.E. Yukiya Amano, Director General of IAEA,
Excellencies and Ministers,
At the outset I would like to congratulate you Mr. President, for assuming the chairmanship of this Ministerial Conference and assure you of my delegation’s full support for a successful outcome of this session.
I wish to extend my appreciation to the IAEA Director General H.E. Yukiya Amano and his team for organizing this first International Conference for enhancing global efforts on Nuclear Security.
Furthermore, let me commend the hard work of our two dear colleagues and their team for coordinating the preparatory process of this Conference, Ambassador Balázs Csuday of Hungary and Ambassador Laércio Antonio Vinhas of the Federative Republic of Brazil.
After decade of International Community’s joint efforts to combat terrorism, Afghanistan, as a frontline fighter against, and prime victim of this menace, believes that terrorism remains a challenge and that possible terrorist activities utilizing nuclear and radiological technologies constitute a major threat and causes growing concern. The terrorist elements will not stop their crimes against humanity, including the use of weapon of mass destruction, if they were to acquire these weapons.
Afghanistan attaches particular importance to a multilateral approach, with the central supporting and facilitating role of the IAEA toward all matters concerning nuclear security, with a view to reinforcing security of nuclear sites around the globe and to invigorating national security regimes in order to prevent illicit acquisition of nuclear and other radioactive material. The Government of Afghanistan welcomes the progress that has been made in recent years in this regard, including the implementation of international instruments. Nonetheless, we are still facing a number of tremendous challenges that urgently need to be addressed, including physical protection of facilities, material, and means of transportation.
Therefore, we consider this first ministerial segment, in the wake of Washington and Seoul Summits and on the eve of next year’s summit in The Hague, as a very timely initiative to build on the progress achieved, study the remaining challenges, and make specific recommendations to enhance the international cooperation on nuclear safety and security. These efforts remain vital for the peace, security and stability of all nations.
Afghanistan expects that the Nuclear Security Plan for 2014 to 2017 will comprise a broad spectrum of robust norms and practices to secure nuclear materials. The IAEA shall play a major role in setting security standards and developing an international framework for nuclear security. We would also like to encourage the allocation of larger resources for the Agency’s Nuclear Security Fund and increased coordination between the IAEA and the United Nations and Interpol’s Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit, while avoiding overlap and duplication.
Afghanistan has taken specific measures at the national, regional and international levels to be an active part of International Community against terrorism, including the IAEA’s activities on the areas of nuclear security framework.
Afghanistan has joined all regional and international protocols, conventions and instruments against intentional terrorism, implementing relevant UNSC resolutions in this regard as well as the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
The Government of Afghanistan calls upon all countries, and specifically those in our region, to join and implement all anti-terrorism international instruments, to maintain the most effective, meticulous security of all nuclear material under their control. All disposable measures must be taken to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear and radiological weapons. We recognize the ongoing work of the IAEA to assist all efforts to implement national nuclear security regimes and encourage all States to make use of such assistance offered.
Afghanistan also wishes to emphasize the importance of aligning nuclear security and safety measures, in order to establish a holistic approach, in due consideration of the growing threat of cyber-attacks, towards protection of human health and the environment.
Each State has the responsibility to ensure that an effective national nuclear security regime is in place, and that rapid and effective incident response is guaranteed. Operators and response forces must make sure that their mechanisms work as intended. In order to achieve sustained momentum to reinforce nuclear security, we must create a clear and consistent framework of structured agreements, mechanisms, guidelines and best practices. Afghanistan supports all activities aimed at the promotion of confidence among IAEA Member States.
Afghanistan has not developed a nuclear power industry, yet derives considerable benefits from its IAEA membership. In recent years, officials from the Afghan Atomic Energy High Commission (AAEHC) and other government bodies including the Ministries of Agriculture, Public Health, Water and Energy, Mines as well as the National Environmental Protection Authority (NEPA) and the Academy of Sciences, participated in consultation and technical meetings hosted by the Agency.
Afghanistan, from its daily experience as a Landlocked, Least Developed Country and War Stricken country, remains confident that with enhanced technical assistance provided by the IAEA, we shall be able to build our necessary capacity and attain full implementation of our prioritized technical cooperation programmes. We must ensure that nuclear and radiological technologies both satisfy our needs and meet the highest safety and security standards.
Afghanistan has adopted national laws, established national institutions, created law informant agencies/units and still needs technology and technical assistance to build its capacities in the field of nuclear security infrastructure. The IAEA trains personnel from our regulatory authority, assists with development and implementation of revised legislation, regulations and guidelines, accession to international legal instruments, adoption of codes of good practice, a system of authorization, review and assessment, as well as inspection for facilities and activities using ionizing radiation. Afghanistan strongly believes that effective nuclear security regimes also require, enhanced regional and international cooperation, including sharing of information and know-how and technology transfer.
In conclusion Mr. President, I would like to reiterate Afghanistan’s strong commitment to be an active part of international community’s joint efforts in the field of nuclear safety and security for the cause of a more peaceful and stable world.