The Russian Federation extends its greetings to IAEA Director General Mr. M. ElBaradei and expresses its thanks to him for submitting the Annual Report of the Agency.
As an active member of IAEA Russia is satisfied with the Agency's work and recognizes its increasing role and importance in strengthening the international regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and ensuring the required level of confidence for cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy and safe nuclear power production.
We reaffirm the need for further strengthening and increasing the efficiency of IAEA's system of safeguards as the basis for nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime.
Terrorist acts in Russia, the United States, other countries, recent dramatic developments in the Middle East, critical situation in Iraq clearly demonstrate the danger coming from the international terrorism to the entire world community, and demand our consolidated efforts in order to establish a global system to counter new challenges and threats, including those in the nuclear sphere.
A key role in ensuring international security is played by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We hope that preparations to the 2005 NPT Review Conference will help consolidate the maximum number of States to uphold the main goals and objectives of the Treaty.
The Russian-American Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty now entered into force is an important contribution by Russia to the strengthening of strategic stability, and an evidence of Russia's compliance with its obligations under Article VI of the NPT. We are convinced that this Treaty goes beyond the framework of bilateral relations and meets the interests of all the countries in the world.
A substantial element of nuclear disarmament for us is the disposal of excessive weapon-grade materials and nuclear weapons reduction. We continue to implement the Agreement between the governments of the Russian Federation and the United States of America dated February 18, 1993 concerning the disposition of highly enriched uranium extracted from nuclear weapons.
We would like to express our support to the IAEA Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, which is being implemented under the auspices of the Agency within the framework of the year 2000 General Conference Resolution entitled "Strengthening the Agency's Activities Related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications". This draft is a practical step towards implementing the initiative by the President of the Russian Federation V.V.Putin announced at the Millennium Summit to develop proliferation - safe nuclear technologies. We note that the IAEA General Conference approved, at its last September session, the Russian-proposed resolution on Agency's activities in this area.
The recent years Russian has paid ever-growing attention to research and development of new nuclear technologies. Pursuant to the Government approved Strategy of Nuclear Power Development in Russia in the first half of the XXI century, a number of innovation projects have been started with thermal and fast neutron reactors in order to address, among others, the problems of safe use of weapons-grade and energy plutonium, and prepare the transition to complete closed fuel cycle.
Let me bear on some aspects of the Agency's activity that are in the focus of international attention. We are following the development of situation around Iran's nuclear programme. We welcome the steps by the Irani side to start a dialogue with IAEA in order to clear up the matters taken up by the Agency with the Islamic Republic of Iran. We appreciate the work conducted at present by Teheran together with IAEA experts as an advance in the right direction. We are convinced that in the future all the problems between Iran and IAEA should be resolved through cooperation.
We expect that Iran will fully comply with the provisions of the September Resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors. We regard this resolution as a work plan for IAEA and Iran formulated by the Board of Governors to clarify as soon as possible the pending issues. We hope that by the next meeting of the Board of Governors it will be possible to record substantial progress in implementing the measures contained in the resolution; and this question will be moved back from political debates to the routine track of work between the Agency and one of the Member States.
We welcome the readiness declared by Iran to sign Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement with the Agency, and to refrain from operations involving sensitive elements of nuclear fuel cycle, especially uranium enrichment experiments. We regard these decisions as a major step forward by the Irani leadership.
We believe that at present the issue of Iran's nuclear programme is excessively politicized. We hope that it will be possible to move it back to the area of regular IAEA inspection activity.
We do not see at present any reasons to reduce our cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the nuclear field - since this cooperation is fully transparent and does not violate international obligations, either of Russia, or of Iran.
As regards the nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, we would like to mention that Russia has made political and diplomatic efforts with a view to an earliest resumption of talks to settle the North-Korean nuclear problem within the six-party format. We welcome the agreement in principle on conducting a new round of multilateral talks within the framework of the Beijing process. It is necessary to arrive at a comprehensive solution to this problem, which should include measures to make the Korean peninsula a non-nuclear area, to stop the Pyongyang's military nuclear programme, to get the DPRK back to NPT, and cooperate with IAEA with due account of legitimate interests of DPRK such as guarantees of its security and favorable environment for its economic development.
We believe that the decision of Pyongyang to withdraw from NPT is reversible.
In conclusion let me express our support to the consensus resolution of UN GA on the IAEA report drafted by our Spanish colleagues upon the outcome of negotiations in Vienna. Russia appreciates the work done by the IAEA and has become a cosponsor to this draft.
May I also take this opportunity to invite representatives of the UN Member States to the meeting to address U.S.-Russian non-proliferation measures to meet global security challenges that will be co-hosted by Russian Minister of Atomic Energy A.V.Rumyantsev and US Secretary of Energy S.Abraham. The meeting will be held in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at 4 p.m. on November 5.
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