Address by Ms Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden, at the IAEA General Conference, 16 September, 2019

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Thank you, Madam President,
Allow me first to congratulate you on your election as President of the 63rd General Conference and underline Sweden’s full support of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Let me at the outset pay tribute to the late Director General, Ambassador Yukiya Amano, who served the IAEA and its Member States with great determination, commitment and dignity.

Sweden fully aligns itself with the statement made by Finland on behalf of the European Union. In addition, let me make the following national remarks.

Beginning next week, pending confirmation, Sweden will for the first time serve as Chair of the Board of Governors. This is a great honour and responsibility, and a continuation of Sweden’s long history of political and technical support for the IAEA.

The work of the Agency is essential in the promotion of nuclear non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear technology and our shared responsibility for peace and security.

Madam President,
By ensuring that States Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty are following their obligations, the IAEA safeguards system is a fundamental part of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.

The Additional Protocol, which enables the IAEA to draw the broader conclusion that all nuclear material in a State remains in peaceful activities, is an indispensable tool. However, universalisation of the Additional Protocol must remain the highest priority.

Sweden welcomes that Serbia and Liberia have joined the large group of Member States that apply the Additional Protocol – now 134 in total.

Madam President,
The issue of Application of Safeguards in the DPRK remains of significant concern. We welcome the diplomatic developments since early 2018 and it is important that this momentum can be maintained, on all levels.

Sweden believes in combining a policy of upholding unity in the Security Council on sanctions, with a readiness to support diplomatic efforts. The DPRK should formalise its commitments towards denuclearisation in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

We call on the DPRK to promptly resume cooperation with the IAEA and implement its safeguards obligations. The IAEA must play a key role in any future verification effort in DPRK.

Madam President,
Sweden has full confidence in the Agency’s impartial and professional work to verify Iran’s nuclear programme, and we have made an additional extra-budgetary contribution of SEK 3 million to facilitate those efforts.

We urge Iran to cooperate fully – and in a timely manner – with the IAEA in the implementation of its NPT Safeguards Agreement.

Together with our partners in the EU, Sweden remains a steadfast supporter of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). A disintegration of the agreement would be seriously damaging for the global non-proliferation regime.

In this context, Sweden, and the EU, deeply regret the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and the re-imposition of sanctions.

Like the EU, we are deeply concerned about Iran’s recent breeches of the JCPOA. We note Iran’s stated intention to remain within the JCPOA and urge Iran to reverse these steps and to return to full compliance without delay.

We underline the importance of Iran’s early ratification of the Additional Protocol as a crucial confidence-building measure.

Madam President,
The threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism remains. Sweden strongly supports the role of the IAEA in supporting efforts by States to upgrade their capabilities to prevent, detect and respond to such events.

Madam President,
Sweden has taken yet another step towards a government decision on the construction of a repository for spent nuclear fuel.
The Land and Environmental Court and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority handed over their statements on the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company’s applications to the Government early last year.

Madam President,
Sweden attaches great importance to the field of human, technology and organisation, and particularly the area of safety culture.
Last year, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, together with Swedish licensees, explored the impact of Swedish customs and social behaviour on safety culture with great success. We are pleased that other countries have been inspired to follow this example.

Madam President,
Nuclear science and technology have a significant role in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The IAEA’s technical cooperation programme contributes to, among other areas, human health, food security and water management.

This year Sweden has provided SEK 5 million in voluntary contributions to the Peaceful Uses Initiative, in support of water resource management in the Sahel, ocean acidification, tackling marine plastics and cervical cancer control. Women’s perspectives must be included in order for projects to be realised in a sustainable and effective way.

Madam President,
Sweden attaches great importance to gender equality at the IAEA secretariat as well as gender mainstreaming in programmes and activities. The full and equal participation of men and women, including at the highest levels, remains essential and will benefit the Agency and its Member States. In this regard, we very much hope that the Agency continues to pursue the goal set by Director General Amano to achieve gender parity among senior officials by 2021.

Madam President,
To conclude, let me underline the importance that Sweden attaches to the Agency’s work. We will do our utmost to assist the IAEA in promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the Agency’s important work in non-proliferation. Only with this in mind can we guarantee a safer and more peaceful future.

Thank you.