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2000 NPT RevCon Statements
14 April - 19 May 2000, New York

Statement by the
Deputy Secretary of the
Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting
and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC)

 Dr. Carlos Feu Alvim,
at the 2000 NPT Review Conference

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On behalf of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, I greet the authorities here today, as well as delegations from the countries and organizations represented here, and would like to express my sincere wishes for the success of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, confident that important steps are being taken which will ensure that, in a foreseeable future, humankind will be free from nuclear threats.

In July 1991, the Governments of Brazil and Argentina signed the agreement for the Exclusively Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy in Guadalajara., Mexico. On that occasion Brazil and Argentina had already shared more than one hundred and fifty years of peaceful relationship. In those times some regional situations were thought to be source of tension that could possible cause nuclear proliferation. This diagnosis was proved to be correct in some other regions of the world.

The actions undertaken by Argentina and Brazil was directed to dispel those fears. The Guadalajara Agreement was the outcome of a lengthy process of building up trust and easing possible tensions that culminated in establishing the conditions for the introduction of MERCOSUR (Southern Cone Common Market) in this region - whose treaty was signed, and not by chance, in the same year as the Guadalajara Agreement.

When Brazil and Argentina signed the Guadalajara Agreement, they did so with the intention of ensuring conditions for the application of full scope international safeguards in the two countries. At the same time Brazil, Argentina and Chile proposed modifications to the Tlatelolco Treaty in order to put that instrument in force in those three countries. And, based in the Guadalajara Agreement, they started negotiations on a full-scope safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including ABACC as one of its parties, now known as the Quadripartite Agreement.

The Guadalajara Agreement was viewed by many people as a substitute to the NPT, as the countries assumed commitments under this Treaty without agreeing with items in the document considered, at that time as discriminatory. In fact, the set of agreements signed could even be considered as more stringent than the NPT.

The fact was that, subsequently, both countries - Argentina first and then Brazil - adhered to the NPT.

There was no transition stage for the application of safeguards, as the safeguards established by the Quadripartite Agreement and even those stipulated by the Guadalajara Agreement were similar to those imposed by the agreements negotiated in order to comply with the NPT. This means that there were no alterations in the application of safeguards after the Treaty came into effect for the two countries.

As clearly shown through acts and declarations, the Governments of Brazil and Argentina felt that the Guadalajara Agreement did not conclude its mission with the adherence of the two countries to the NPT. On the contrary, they consider ABACC more relevant for the application of its safeguards.

The new international scenario at the end of the century, highlighted the need to strengthen not only the traditional safeguards but also the regional approach implemented at the time by ABACC and EURATOM, which represented an important buttress for the non-proliferation system. Other parts of the world are studying the application of a regional safeguards approach. In fact, regional nuclear safeguards organizations have added the advantages of physical proximity to the system, with better knowledge of the situation of the countries in question and the direct interest of their neighbors in ensuring that there are no nuclear weapons nearby.

Additionally, the regional organization like ABACC as non-proliferation promoters in each region, representing the unwavering political will of the countries that belong to it, committed to the exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy. Regional safeguards also made sense from the technical and economic standpoints, when integrated with the international safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency. This means that the integration of safeguards efforts is of the utmost importance, achieved through the EURATOM / IAEA and ABACC / IAEA cooperative actions.

This integration becomes even more important for the application of the Additional Protocol for strengthening safeguards, already signed by EURATOM; and which Brazil, Argentina and ABACC have already stated their intention of starting negotiations. Within this context, it should be stressed that EURATOM and ABACC are fully empowered to play a leading role in the application of new safeguards.

Technical cooperation between Brazil and Argentina - as well as with the international community - is a definitive way of establishing trust between the two countries and between them and the international community. Along these lines, Argentina, Brazil and ABACC itself have increased cooperation in the safeguards area (in the case of ABACC) and in other areas (in the case of the countries), with ample participation of other nations, while ensuring the transparency required for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

During almost eight years of the effective application of safeguards in Brazil and Argentina, ABACC has carried out 944 inspections that involved 4,560 inspector days in the field. During its inspections and those carried out jointly with the IAEA, ABACC has made considerable progress in reducing the inspection effort, with no loss in effectiveness. In particular, the two agencies have made significant progress in the use of inspectors and equipment. Over the years, ABACC has collected and analyzed 249 samples of nuclear materials. More than US$1,440,000 has been invested in equipment, and 5,600 inspector/consultant days or employee days in staff training. Over 45 papers have been presented at international events, or published.

Complying with its obligations under the Guadalajara and Quadripartite Agreements and the Treaty of Tlatelolco, ABACC forwarded 3,200 accounting reports to the IAEA, as well as 770 inspection reports to both countries and 30 to the IAEA, 19 declarations to Brazil and Argentina, of which 11 were related to compliance with the Treaty of Tlatelolco, forwarded to the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) by the two countries.

The ABACC Secretariat feels that the efforts undertaken by Argentina and Brazil to eliminate the risks of nuclear weapons in the region - assuring that they will continue to develop the nuclear energy only for peaceful uses - have made an appreciable contribution to World Peace. We sincerely hope that this Conference will foster fresh progress.

Thank you very much.