IAEA countries tighten security
‘Nuclear and radioactive material can be used peacefully only if its security is guaranteed. At the same time, nuclear security cannot be considered separately from nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This is an important ambition, and President Obama’s comments on this subject in Berlin last week were encouraging,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans, speaking at the International Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna.
The Vienna conference is the first International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting at ministerial level to address nuclear security. Ministers and representatives of 123 countries are meeting to agree on how to prevent nuclear and other radioactive material from falling into the wrong hands, such as those of terrorists. The Netherlands is playing a prominent role in this area as host of the Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014.
The IAEA is well equipped to offer member countries assistance with nuclear security, and Mr Timmermans has therefore announced a new contribution of €1 million to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. ‘Following visits to the Netherlands by IAEA expert missions, our legislation has been adapted in line with IAEA recommendations. Our highly experienced experts are also helping the IAEA to carry out similar missions elsewhere. I hope that other countries will follow our example.’
The Minister met with Syunichi Suzuki, Japan’s Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, in Vienna to discuss developments in North Korea. In another meeting Mr Timmermans spoke to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano about Iran and other issues. ‘I hope the new president will live up to his pre-election pledge to strive for a new, improved relationship with the rest of the world. But that will not be possible as long as Iran fails to fulfil its obligations and continues to enrich more uranium,’ said the Minister.
Mr Timmermans also visited a stand set up by Dutch public authorities, knowledge institutions and businesses operating in the field of nuclear security, including the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Netherlands Forensic Institute and Delft University of Technology, as well as the companies URENCO, COVRA and NRG Petten. Most of these institutions and businesses gave presentations during the conference.
Later the same day the Minister spoke to Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This security organisation, comprised of 57 member countries from North America, Europe and the former Soviet Union, has played a major role in controlling tensions between countries, as well as internal tensions, since the Helsinki Accords of 1975. ‘The OSCE still has an important task to fulfil,’ said Mr Timmermans. ‘In the years ahead it will be important for countries to comply with their commitments while strengthening their ties with the EU, and for the OSCE to continue to play an effective role in conflict prevention.’