Statement by Ambassador Abdul Samad Minty, South Africa’s Governor to the IAEA Board of Governors at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, Vienna, 3 July 2009: Appointment of the Director General of the IAEA
At the outset I congratulate you, Ambassador Amano, for being elected the next Director General of the IAEA and we wish you all the best in discharging the responsibilities bestowed upon you through this appointment.
Your personal dedication to the elimination of nuclear weapons and the prevention of their proliferation should serve the Agency well in meeting the anticipated future challenges.
In this regard, I assure you of South Africa’s full support and co-operation during your tenure as Director General, as there is a collective responsibility to preserve the Agency’s impartiality and integrity and to further enhance its contribution to human wellbeing.
Ambassador Feroukhi, let me thank you for your objectivity and professionalism in conducting this election process, which has now been completed in the Board.
This election process has been a long drawn out and hard fought campaign. The support and personal encouragement for my candidature by the African Union, many in the Board of Governors, the wider Membership of the IAEA and within the Secretariat, greatly facilitated the decision by my Government to nominate me for this important position.
All this sincere support is highly appreciated and we will build thereon, and set aside our differences, to ensure that the Agency continues its unique and independent contribution to humanity.
As stated on previous occasions, my nomination was not initiated to oppose any other candidate, but was submitted because of our firm belief that given South Africa’s unique experience related to nuclear issues and in particular our ability and commitment to forge a consensus in a diverse society, we were convinced that we could have made an exceptional contribution to the management of the Agency.
It is in our common interest to promote the importance of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and in this context to further enhance the peaceful application of nuclear energy. The IAEA is our most valuable asset in promoting this common interest, but we should be vigilant that in advancing the peaceful applications of nuclear energy this is not based on the premise of denying developing countries access to advanced technologies needed for their own development.
We have in the past experienced the role the Agency played in relation to issues that impacted on the peaceful resolution of disputes. As we enter a new chapter in the existence of the IAEA, it is of critical importance that the Agency and its Director General maintain their impartial and courageous voices.
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei has led the Agency with great dignity, dedication and professionalism. We need to maintain the Agency’s independence and integrity and build upon the high standard set by Dr ElBaradei.
South Africa stands ready to work with you, Ambassador Amano, and with all Member States of the IAEA and the Secretariat to meet the future challenges and opportunities the Agency is facing. Our future objective is to assist in fostering a co-operative spirit and to focus on what unites us, namely; creating a better life for all free from the threat of the use of nuclear weapons.
I thank you.
Issued by Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787
Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
03 July 2009