IAEA Board of Governors
Agenda Item 8: Transfer of the nuclear materials in the context of AUKUS and its safeguards in all aspects under the NPT
Right of Reply
9 March 2023
Statement on behalf of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States by H.E Ambassador Corinne Kitsell, Resident Representative of the United Kingdom to the IAEA
I take the floor on behalf of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The AUKUS partners continue to believe that this agenda item is an unnecessary distraction for this Board. We would like the record to reflect under this item that we remain steadfastly opposed to any calls for a separate or recurring agenda item, a “special committee,” or an “intergovernmental process”, or any other similar process. We have heard these points many times before and repeat that such proposals that risk undermining the IAEA Secretariat’s mandate to engage with Member States directly on safeguards issues.
We would like to reiterate that the AUKUS partners respect and strongly support the Agency’s impartiality, independence, and long-established mandate to engage with Member States on safeguards and verification matters, and to do so free from outside political interference.
We have also heard claims of non-conformity with the NPT and non-proliferation obligations. We refer Board members to our previous statements over several Boards regarding these erroneous arguments.
The optimal pathway for Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine programme is being finalised and AUKUS partners remain on track for an announcement around the end of the consultation period. Throughout this process, AUKUS partners have engaged openly and transparently with the international community and the IAEA, and will continue to do so following an announcement.
We hope this agenda item will swiftly conclude and that the Board be allowed to return to the truly urgent and critical matters before us.
Thank you, Chair.