Cablegate: 2009 Iaea/Gc: General Debate Highlights

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1. (U) Director General ElBaradei opened the IAEA General Conference
on September 14 with a valedictory address looking back on his
12-year tenure. He observed that the IAEA has made considerable
progress in many areas, from improving access to energy, food and
water for people in need, to helping to enhance the safety and
security of nuclear materials and facilities. ElBaradei cautioned
however, that "so many of the issues I raised back then are still
with us today" - nuclear verification in the DPRK, the lack of
significant progress in nuclear disarmament and the perennial
problems of inadequate Agency funding and legal authority for IAEA
safeguards. He once again urged Iran to work more closely with the
IAEA and sign the Additional Protocol. Then, following his formal
appointment as the next IAEA Director General at the opening of the
GC, DG-designate Yukiya Amano also took the floor to deliver general
remarks on the challenges ahead for the Agency. Amano cited
increasing risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, the
rise in demand for energy coupled with concerns about greenhouse gas
emissions, food security, human health and water availability. He
also noted that the Agency must use its resources, both financial
and human, responsibly. The U.S., on behalf of the North America
Group, and other regional groups delivered statements thanking
ElBaradei for his service and welcoming Amano.

2. (U) The General Debate in the GC Plenary spanned four days,
including national statements from 110 member states and
inter-governmental organizations. The UN Secretary General's
message, delivered by High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
Duarte, thanked the DG for his service and extended full support for
newly appointed DG Amano. The SYG highlighted the September 24 UN
Security Council nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation summit.
His message called for universal adherence to the Additional
Protocol; for all NNWS to bring into force safeguards agreements in
advance of the 2010 NPT Revcon and for states to cooperate fully
with the IAEA. The SYG also reaffirmed international support for
resuming Six-party talks on the DPRK. Speaking third in the General
Debate, Secretary of Energy Chu delivered the U.S. statement and a
Presidential message in support of the IAEA. A number of countries
offered their thanks to outgoing DG El-Baradei and support to
incoming DG Amano. Several states highlighted non-proliferation
challenges in Iran, Syria and the DPRK. Arab states focused heavily
on Middle East safeguards, citing double standards as regards Israel
for creating an imbalance in the region. [NOTE: National statements
are posted at END NOTE] END SUMMARY.

DG's Introductory Remarks

3. (U) The DG focused his statement on comparing the state of the
Agency in 1997 when he assumed the position of Director General, and
the present day. He noted considerable progress in many areas, from
improving access to energy, food and water for people in need, to
helping to enhance the safety and security of nuclear materials and
facilities, but noted many issues remained the same: verification
in the DPRK, the lack of any significant progress in nuclear
disarmament and inadequate Agency funding and legal authority. By
contrast to 1997, he noted that the expected expansion of nuclear
power will create more demands on the Agency. The DG noted the
growth in the size of the Technical Cooperation Program from a
modest 80 million USD in 1998 to disbursement of 96 million USD in
2008. He called for a dramatic increase in TC funding and
emphasized the importance of the IAEA Program of Action for Cancer
Therapy (PACT).

4. (U) The DG noted that Agency safeguards had progressed from
verification of declared nuclear material at declared facilities to
assessing information on a State's nuclear program and, most
importantly, verifying the absence of undeclared activities. He
noted that the IAEA was implementing "integrated safeguards" in more
than 40 countries, and was making increasing use of advanced
technology. Nonetheless, he emphasized that in order to detect
possible clandestine nuclear material and activities, the IAEA

UNVIE VIEN 00000456 002 OF 004

needed to have greater legal authority (including implementation of
comprehensive safeguards and APs), technology and resources. He
also noted the need for legal authority and expertise for IAEA to
pursue alleged weaponization activities. He regretted the fallout
from the Iraq war and recalled the Agency's assessment of Iran not
having revived its nuclear weapons program and its unheeded request
for more verification work prior to the war as a "valuable
investment in peace." The DG added that it gave him no consolation
that the Agency's findings were subsequently vindicated.

5. (U) In the case of the DPRK, the DG reminded that the Agency
had sounded the alarm and reported the country to the Security
Council for non-compliance with its non-proliferation obligations as
far back as 1993. He derived important lessons learned from Iraq
and the DPRK, including the need to let diplomacy and thorough
verification take their course. The DG also noted that the U.N.
Security Council needs to develop a comprehensive compliance
mechanism that does not rely only on sanctions and, as the
international community move towards nuclear disarmament, he called
for strengthening the Agency's verification mandate, noting this as
a prerequisite for nuclear disarmament. Turning to Iran, the DG
called for Iran to engage substantively with the Agency to clarify
difficult and important questions regarding the authenticity of
information relating to alleged weaponization studies and to
implement the Additional Protocol. He welcomed the U.S. offer to
initiate a dialogue with Iran, without preconditions and on the
basis of mutual respect.

6. (U) The DG asserted that it had become increasingly difficult
to call on non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) to renounce nuclear
weapons in perpetuity and accept new measures to strengthen
non-proliferation if nuclear-weapon states continue to modernize and
almost glorify their nuclear arsenals. He specifically referenced
NATO's current Strategic Concept, which says the purpose of the
Alliance's nuclear weapons was "to preserve peace and prevent
coercion and any kind of war," given that "conventional forces alone
cannot ensure credible deterrence."

7. (U) The DG also emphasized that the proposed IAEA low-enriched
uranium (LEU) bank and an LEU reserve in Russia would be last-resort
assurance for countries with nuclear power programs that face a
supply disruption for non-commercial reasons. Such a reserve would
give countries confidence that they can count on supplies of fuel to
run their nuclear power plants and do not have to develop their own
fuel cycle facilities. Nevertheless, he said that under such
proposals, no country would have to give up any of its rights under
the NPT, including the right to develop its own fuel cycle.

U.S. Statement

11. (U) The third speaker in the General Debate, Secretary of Energy
Chu delivered the U.S. statement and a message from President Obama.
pddMQQ@JQQngD The Presidential message pledged that the U.S. would do its part
support the Agency's goals, including strengthening safeguards, and
promoting nuclear safety, security and peaceful nuclear energy and
applications. Secretary Chu reminded Member States of the
President's commitment to create a world free of nuclear weapons and
the need to strengthen the NPT. Full text of the U.S. statement is
available at and

Group Themes

12. (U) Each regional group thanked outgoing DG ElBaradei for his
service and pledged support for incoming DG Amano. Africa Group
member states highlighted the need for more Technical Cooperation
(TC) by speaking about success stories in areas of human health,
tsetse fly eradication, and agriculture. The Arab League, as in
past years, singled out Israel and its purported nuclear
capabilities, and included allusions to the Iranian-proposed agenda
item on preventing military attacks on nuclear facilities. Citing
Israel as the destabilizing force in the Middle East, many Arab
League members reminded that they were members of the NPT. Sweden,

UNVIE VIEN 00000456 003 OF 004

on behalf of the EU, Albania, Bosnia, Iceland, Norway, Moldova, and
Ukraine, highlighted the EU's commitment to all three NPT pillars,
called on Iran to fully comply with all UN resolutions and urged the
DPRK to return to Six-Party talks. Individual EU members delivered
national statements along the same lines. The EU also welcomed the
March 2010 Nuclear Security Summit hosted by the U.S. and called
upon all Member States to fund nuclear security and TC more fully.
Similarly to the African Group, members of the Latin American and
Caribbean Group (GRULAC), highlighted the Agency's TC program citing
success in the fields of water management, human health, and nuclear
energy development. Many GRULAC members supported President Obama's
call for a nuclear-weapons free world and called upon the DPRK to
re-commit to Six-Party talks. Within GRULAC, a few Caribbean
members led by Haiti, focused on the plight of less developed
countries (LDCs) and called for more technical cooperation and

--------------------- -----
Nuclear Verification: Iran
--------------------- -----

13. (U) Iranian Vice President and Atomic Energy Agency of Iran
(AEOI) Director Salehi delivered Iran's statement. Salehi noted his
personal involvement in facilitating recent inspections at Arak and
Natanz and described Iran as a "peace-loving" nation. He cautioned
against threatening Iran's national security on the pretext of
verification and at the behest of a few Western nations. Insisting
that Iran is in compliance with its international obligations,
Salehi also highlighted Iran's achievements in the nuclear arena.
Later, following Israel's national statement, Iran exercised its
"right of reply" to say that a non-NPT signatory (Israel) had made
false allegations against Iran and calling the Zionist regime a
threat to peace.

14. (U) More than two dozen IAEA members referred to Iran in their
General Debate statements; most were critical. The EU, UK, Germany,
Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Canada,
Japan, Norway, Ireland, and Malta variously urged Iran to cooperate
with the IAEA (or noted Iran's defiance), implement the AP and/or
related transparency measures, comply with UNSCRs and change course.
The EU affirmed that as the guarantor of international security the
UNSC was an important partner of the IAEA.

15. (U) Other national statements, including by some current or
incoming UNSC members, were more balanced. China said the Iran
portfolio should be settled in an appropriate manner. Chile and
Mexico welcomed positive progress on the Iran work plan and urged
Iran to intensify cooperation and clarify outstanding issues.
Turkey shared the DG's concern that the Agency is not able to verify
the full scope of Iran's program. Ukraine supported constructive
dialogue between Iran and the Agency. Malaysia welcomed recent
Iranian cooperation but also called for clarification of outstanding
issues. Sudan welcomed IAEA activities in Iran and encouraged a
peaceful conclusion. As would be expected, Cuba came to Iran's
defense arguing that political manipulation should have been stopped
long ago.

--------------------- -----
Nuclear Verification: DPRK
--------------------- -----

16. (U) The majority of Member States called on the DPRK to
cooperate fully with the UN Security Council and IAEA. Singapore,
Norway, Greece, the EU, Malta, Bulgaria, Austria, Thailand, the UK,
Turkey, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Philippines,
Germany, France, Mexico, Chile, Italy, Sweden, Japan, and Korea,
among others called on the DPRK to rejoin Six-Party Talks and all
voiced concern over recent actions. China said it would work with
all relevant parties to pursue denuclearization of the peninsula.
The CTBTO representative, while deploring DPRK actions, noted that
the two DPRK test explosions in 2006 and 2009 proved the reliability
of the CTBTO detection system.

Nuclear Verification: Syria

UNVIE VIEN 00000456 004 OF 004

17. (U) A number of Member States called upon Syria to cooperate
more fully with the IAEA. Turkey, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand,
Canada, Israel, Germany, Ukraine, Sweden, Belgium, and France, among
others called upon Syria to demonstrate transparency and cooperation
in the application of its Safeguards Agreement. Sudan, Venezuela,
Cuba, and Malaysia called for the Syria investigation to be closed
or at a minimum not be influenced by outside parties. In this
regard, some Arab Group Members highlighted the failure to achieve a
nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East and singled out
Israel's attack on the Syrian facility as proof of the dangers faced
by states in the Middle East.


18. (U) Given the upcoming NPT RevCon, many member states affirmed
their commitment to the NPT and its role as the cornerstone of the
global nonproliferation regime. Member States such as the Holy See
and the Philippines also singled out the CTBTO in their statements
reminding of its important within the international community.
Sweden, on behalf of the EU, called on the NPT RevCon to adopt a
concrete set of pragmatic, effective, and consensual measures for
stepping up counter proliferation efforts.

Assured Supply

20. (U) Only a few Member States mentioned the need for assured
supply of nuclear fuel in the event of an interruption of supply.
Russia reported on the progress of the International Enrichment
Center at Angarsk as a multi-national commercial arrangement and
reaffirmed its commitment to maintain, as a contribution to the
Agency, a safeguarded LEU reserve for the IAEA at that facility in
Angarsk. China used its statement to highlight the need for
further, in-depth discussion among Member States on the recent
proposals for assured supply. Ultimately, China said, it would like
to see a mechanism established.

An End in Sight...

21. (U) Comment: 110 national statements spanning four days
finally brought an end to the plenary sessions and the GC President
could move on in the agenda. Because of repeated lengthy statements
and delegations' failure to observe the recommended fifteen-minute
limit on their national statements, the GC President and Secretariat
asked the General Committee to consider how to curb national
statements. The General Committee agreed that in 2010 the 13-minute
warning light would be made visible to the entire hall (heretofore
it has been visible only to the speaker and others on the podium).
This measure of moral suasion will, it is to be hoped, make it
unnecessary to contemplate shutting off microphones as a deterrent
against long-windedness. En Comment.


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