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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Cluster 3 South Africa, May 1999

Cluster 3

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Mr Chairperson,

Thank you for giving me the floor.

The promotion of the idea of "Atoms for Peace" formed one of the cornerstones for the establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in October 1956. The other -- intimately related to "Atoms for Peace" -- was the assurance that assistance provided by the

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Agency "is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose". Forty~three years after these aims were imbedded in the Statute of the IAEA1 we can look back at mixed results. Although the possibilities for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy were promoted, the investments which have unfortunately been made in "peaceful uses" are outweighed by the investments in the atom's destructive capability.

The challenge, however, facing us today, is to move on and to take steps to ensure that trend of the past is reversed. It is also in this context that we would wish to commend the IAEA not only for its role as a vital component in international community's endeavours to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons but also as the international community's primary facilitator of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The Agency's original founders intended that the IAEA should promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in order to contribute to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. As far as Africa is concerned, it could not have a more appropriate objective. For African Members of the Agency in fact, the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is particularly important, since great challenges in economic and social developments are faced on the continent. Activities in this sphere in Africa over the past decades have resulted in the expansion of technical cooperation in a myriad of fields, ranging from health to isotope hydrology in arid areas. In this connection, South Africa has put its nuclear infrastructure at the service of the IAEA to facilitate the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy on the continent in order to to promote the achievement of peace, health and prosperity for all of Africa's peoples. As a manifestation of this, South Africa will host the first Regional Training Course on Radiation Protection in July this year in Johannesburg.

At the centre of Africa's endeavours in the nuclear field., also lies the work and activities of the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA). In its ten years of existence, AFRA has, albeit with limited funds, achieved significant results through its commitment to its fundamental goals and objectives.

Mr Chairperson,

It has often been said that we are only the custodians of our planet, that we merely have the use the planet while being bound to preserving it for the generations to come. In this connection we would wish to further commend the IAEA for its efforts to find proper means of providing sufficient energy for sustainable development. The Agency's current activities relating to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), as identified by the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), is an important instrument in efforts to ensure that the cause of sustainable development is advanced while at the same time addressing some of the the negative consequences of technological progress. Furthermore, the Agency's continued investigations in the smaller and less costly nuclear reactors for use by developing countries for the generation of electricity, and perhaps in the desalination of water to compensate for scarce fresh water resources, is further proof of commitment of the Agency to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Mr Chairperson,

Despite the positive elements which I have attempted to highlight in my statement, my delegation also believes that there are some alarming danger signals which we must take account of and seek the means to address. These issues were also raised by South Africa at the second NPT PrepCom meeting last year. It is evident to us that problems could arise in the implementation of the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Programme unless steps are taken to ensure that the level of funding for these programmes continues to rise at an appropriate rate so as to enable the Agency to fund the many crucial projects which have been put forward. Indications are that

-- owing to domestic financial constraints - - target levels traditionally attained by certain donor countries in the past decades will not be met in the future. I want to express my delegation's disquiet with the situation, as I fear that a decline in the level of the TAC fund will result in a decline in the number of vital projects to be conducted in developing countries and eventually undermining the Agency's crucial work in this area. To this end, I would wish to appeal to all members of the IAEA, and especially to the major donors, to ensure that their TAC targets are paid and for them not to loose sight of the aspirations of the many developing countries who support the notion of "Atoms for Peace".

Mr Chairperson,

South Africa, without attempting to link the safeguards and technical cooperation issues, believes that a balance should exist between the funding of safeguards activities and that of Technical Cooperation Projects. It is therefore disconcerting to my delegation to note that the budget of safeguards at the IAEA is increasing while funds for Technical Cooperation are decreasing. That is not to say that we attach a lesser value to safeguards, but merely that both activities should be treated with the seriousness they deserve, as both are important to South Africa.

Finally Mr Chairperson, let me remind this meeting of a phrase contained in the Baruch Plan which embraces the thrust of what my delegation is stating here today "Peace is never long preserved by weight of metal or by an armament race. Peace can be made tranquil and secure only by understanding and agreement fortified by sanctions. We must embrace international cooperation or international disintegration."

Mr Chairperson, I thank you.