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Statement by Mr. A.N. Sychev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Head of Delegation of the Republic of Belarus at the 48-th Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

September 22, 2004

Mr. President,

Allow me on behalf of the delegation of the Republic of Belarus to congratulate President and his Deputies with their election to the high posts at the 48-th Session of IAEA General Conference. We appreciate Director General doctor ElBaradei for submission of the comprehensive report on the Agencys activities.

Mr. President,

Our delegation extends its deep condolences to the delegation of the Russian Federation with regard to the unprecedented series of terrorist acts. In Belarus we share the burning pain and deep sorrow of the Russian people, caused by loss of life and miseries, especially, among children.

The latest tragic events emphasize the necessity for consolidation of the world community efforts, aimed at combating international terrorism, as well as preventing possibility for any use of nuclear materials and radioactive sources with a malicious intention. In this respect the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency and its responsibility for maintaining the international stability and security increases.

It should be noted that joint efforts of IAEA Member States and the Secretariat were successful in many fields: improving and strengthening the systems of physical protection at the objects, containing nuclear materials and radioactive sources; developing and introducing guidelines for nuclear materials management, account and providing due conditions for safe storage of materials, which can be used for production of a dispersal radioactive explosion device.

Belarus attaches special importance to the strengthening of physical protection of nuclear material. The central direction in this sphere is the process of introducing amendments to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. We are interested to have this process successfully completed by adoption of a new international instrument consistent with the present realities. At the same time the successful finalizing of this process needs to have all amendments been agreed before convening the diplomatic conference.

The Belarusian delegation is concerned by the situation around the safeguards regime. Against the background of world community effort to coordinate combating international nuclear terrorism last year was marked by stagnation in solving DPRKs crisis undermining the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The six party talks to settle situation with the DPRK did not result in any substantial achievement. We do hope that a constructive interaction of all participants during the talks will facilitate to find a compromise and will become a prerequisite for tension relief in the Asian and Pacific region.

Belarus welcomes the efforts of the IAEA in Iran to fix the explored failures. Expressing our appreciation to the efforts made by the Iranian side to rectify the existing unclarities, we are confident, that Iran will work with the Agency in the spirit of cooperation and transparency.

The destiny of the safeguard system as a whole depends on how effectively the Agency will manage to go through the chain of nuclear crises. In such a situation the position of the Agency must be objective and based on established facts. We are confident that the leadership of the Agency must continue to play active role in this process holding consultations with the governments of the countries concerned in order to find complete solution of the crisis situations.

Mr. President,

The assistance in solving acute medical, social and economic problems and transmission of nuclear technologies helps expand notably the contribution of nuclear sciences to the sustainable development of our country.

Development of technical cooperation and increase of its effectiveness is the key vectors for further interaction between Belarus and the Agency. We believe that the Country Program Framework for Belarus signed in March 2003 provides a solid foundation for a balanced development of cooperation with the Agency in medium-term perspective.

The interaction with the Agency within the framework of Technical Cooperation Program is largely connected for Belarus with the problems related to overcoming consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl NPP. In 2001 the last in the series of so called rapeseed projects was successfully completed. Under this project the plant producing ecologically clean products in the contaminated areas was launched. According to the conclusions of the World Bank experts, the experience of fruitful cooperation with the Agency allows the Republic of Belarus to create at a short notice a new branch of agricultural production in case of due investing.

Presently, our county implements successfully the model project Rehabilitation of Chernobyl-affected Territories, aimed at complex rehabilitation of the affected areas. In fact, the sustainable economic development, as well as the establishment of those industries allowing to produce clean goods from the local feedstock play the key role in regeneration of the contaminated territories. The good example of cooperation in this field is the opening of a flour module at the Cheese Production Factory in the city of Khoininki on September 1, 2004, which is situated in the contaminated region.

The implementation of the regional project Long-term countermeasure strategies and monitoring of human exposure in rural areas affected by the Chernobyl accident is of special importance for Belarus. Under this project they are solving the practical tasks of the dose exposure monitoring and developing the long-term strategy to overcome the consequences of the catastrophe. Implementation of the project is consistent with the complex regional approach to the settlement of problems confronting three most affected countries, namely, Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

We note with satisfaction the progress attained at the International Scientific Forum on Chernobyl. Belarus looks forward to strict reserving the schedule and sustainable funding of the events under the auspices of the Forum. This will allow to complete the Forums work by 2005 and to approve the report containing scientifically established picture of the consequences resulted from the catastrophe at the Chernobyl NPP, as well as recommendations on further rehabilitation measures.

In this regard we highly appreciate the active role of the Director General of IAEA, Doctor ElBaradei, Deputy Director General, Doctor Ana Maria Cetto, as well as the leaders and members of the staff from the Department of Technical Cooperation. We hope for further Agencys attention to this problematics, that have long-term consequences. We also expect that the funding of the Chernobyl national and regional programs will be increased in the future cycle.

Mr. President,

Training of personnel is among key conditions for strengthening effectiveness of the regulating infrastructure for supervising safety and security of radioactive and nuclear materials. We welcome the Agencys efforts to implement Strategic approach to education and training in the field of radiation safety and safety of wastes.

For many years Belarus have been making substantial contribution to the training of personnel, hosting IAEA training and consultative events. So, on September 27, 2004 the third training post-graduate course on radiation safety and safety of radiation sources will start in the International Sakharov Ecological University.

Availing this opportunity I confirm our interest to continue this cooperation that must be constructed on the basis of long-term plans and agreements.

Belarus is interested in further improvement of mechanism for technical cooperation in the field of nuclear safety. We have collected considerable experience in this sphere, which might be of interest for other countries. In particular, with the assistance of IAEA the Government of the Republic of Belarus under the project on combating illicit trafficking of the radioactive materials has equipped two pilot check-points which provide control and account of every piece of material crossing the state border of our country. In perspective we are planning to establish on the basis of this project the national automatic system to account and control transfer of nuclear and radioactive materials.

Among other priority issues there is the problem of safe management of radioactive waste. The priority given to this issue is stipulated by the specifity associated with the accident at the Chernobyl NPP.

Today it becomes apparent, that safe management of nuclear fuel and radioactive waste is only possible in case of participation of all Member States in the Joint Convention on Safety Management of Spent Fuel and Safety Management of Radioactive Waste. In this regard our delegation calls upon the states which have not ratified the Joint Convention, to join this document.

The issues of management of the radioactive waste are often connected in Belarus to other important task such as identification and rehabilitation of so called orphan sources. We have discovered about 20 sites which may be presumably classified as orphan disposals of radioactive sources. The examination of two those sites confirmed that they posed a radiation danger. At present moment we are searching for resources to continue examinations and to develop a model project on the sources extraction from unauthorized storages. We expect the Agencys assistance in solving this problem.

Mr. President,

Belarus has been regularly paying its contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund. In this connection we confirm our obligation to pay our contribution next year and call upon Member States to take necessary measures to provide the Fund with sufficient financial resources for full-scale implementation of the Technical Cooperation Program.

In conclusion, our delegation congratulates the Republic of Chad, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Republic of Togo with their joining the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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