IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Agenda Item 10: Transfer of the nuclear materials in the context of AUKUS and its safeguards in all aspects under the NPT
9 June 2022
I take the floor on behalf of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
We understand and welcome the interest of Board members in this trilateral effort. As noted at the adoption of the agenda, to support the Board’s efforts to address genuinely pressing issues this week and to limit time spent on procedural matters, we did not block consensus on the addition of this agenda item. We will provide a substantive update on our non-proliferation efforts related to AUKUS under the AOB agenda item — the appropriate place for such an update and for any other statements on this issue.
We have just heard several troubling mischaracterisations and inaccurate assertions, which we will address now very briefly.
It remains our firm view that any agenda item on AUKUS, whether one-off or standing, is inappropriate and unnecessary at this juncture. The Director General’s prerogative must be respected.
In his introductory statement to this Board, the Director General has affirmed his satisfaction with the engagement and transparency shown by our three countries, and informed States of his decision to present a report to the September Board. We fully support the Director General’s right and authority to update the Board as he sees fit, and accordingly reiterate that the agenda item today is unnecessary.
Repeated suggestions made by one country to create a ‘special committee’ risk undermining the IAEA’s well-established mandate and authority to engage with Member States bilaterally on safeguards issues. We firmly reject this proposal.
Counterintuitively, we have heard one country assert [in the same statement] both that we have not engaged sufficiently with the IAEA, and that we should not engage with the IAEA.
We once again recall the Director General’s expression of satisfaction with our engagement and transparency.
We will continue to engage with the IAEA on Australia’s safeguards obligations related to its acquisition of a naval nuclear propulsion capability in an open and transparent manner.
Similarly, it is critical to the international non-proliferation regime that the IAEA continues to be allowed to fulfil its mandate to engage with Member States on safeguards issues with independence and without interference.
Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States will continue to undertake trilateral cooperation in a manner that is fully consistent with our respective non-proliferation obligations and reflects our longstanding leadership in the global non-proliferation regime.
We hope this item can swiftly conclude and that the Board be allowed to return to the genuinely pressing matters before us without further delay.