HE the Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Republic of Austria and the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations and international organizations in Vienna Sultan bin Salmeen Al Mansouri delivered the statements of the Arab Group before the session of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) currently being held in Vienna, on Israeli nuclear capabilities, the application of IAEA safeguards in the Middle East, and nuclear and radiological safety.
Concerning Israel's nuclear capabilities, HE the Ambassador said that Israel's negative practices in the nuclear field worried many countries of the world, especially the countries of the region, and were addressed by several international forums over the past decades, the last of which was the Third Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as well as decisions issued by international organizations against Israel and demanding that it join the NPT.
In the statement of the Arab Group, HE Al Mansouri added that despite all these efforts, Israel still categorically refuses to implement the aforementioned decisions and deliberately underestimates the treaty and considers it ineffective in the Middle East, while its non-accession to the treaty threatens regional peace and security.
He stressed that the Arab Group in Vienna considers that all initiatives aimed at establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East serve peace efforts, while Israel is trying to impose a new order of priorities that keeps it outside the NPT indefinitely.
Also, HE the Ambassador stressed that addressing nuclear proliferation in the Middle East is at the core of the IAEA tasks and a necessary commitment to deal with the Israeli nuclear threat, which threatens not only security and stability in the Middle East but also international peace and security.
In the statement, Al Mansouri conveyed the Arab Group's demand to keep the item "Israeli nuclear capabilities" in circulation within the IAEA policy-making bodies.
Regarding the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, HE Al Mansouri welcomed the holding of the first session of the conference on the establishment of a zone free of these lethal weapons in the Middle East in November 2019 and the UN Secretary-General's Political Declaration issued in February 2020 on the conference.
HE the Ambassador said that the conference is the first practical step that was achieved about 25 years after the adoption of the 1995 resolution to revive the path of establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
In his statement, HE Al Mansouri called on the IAEA and its Director-General to continue to support this conference in accordance with the recommendation of the rapporteur of the UN General Assembly, and to reflect the developments related to the conference in the next report of the IAEA Director-General on the application of safeguards in the Middle East.
On the item "Nuclear and Radiation Safety," HE Al Mansouri stressed that the primary responsibility for nuclear safety rests with the Member States in terms of ensuring the application of safety standards and following the best practices set by the IAEA, and providing national plans for a rapid and appropriate response to nuclear emergencies.
At the conclusion of the statement, HE Al Mansouri said that the Arab Group encourages the IAEA member states to become contracting parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, and welcomes, in this regard, the accession of three countries, including the State of Qatar, to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, bringing the number of contracting parties to 91.