Dr. Yousry Abu Shady’s participation in the 66th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, on 26-30 September 2022
During the period from 26-30 September 2022, Dr. Yousry Abu Shady, ECFA member, participated in the 66th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as the 176 members of the Agency were invited to attend the Conference, 152 of whom actually attended. The Conference was attended by high-level delegations, including the Vice President of the Republic of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, and more than 50 ministers of Energy, Science, Foreign Affairs, or Environment. Representatives of 138 countries and representatives of 7 international organizations spoke at the Conference. No Egyptian delegations (other than the Foreign Ministry) attended, for the first time in the history of this Conference. Minister of Electricity, Mohamed Shaker, delivered Egypt’s statement via a recorded speech. The delegation was headed by the Egyptian Ambassador to Vienna, Mohamed El-Molla.
The Agency’s agenda was approved in the second session, not the first, unlike the previous conferences, due to the presence of some differences regarding the agenda, especially on the part of Israel, but it was approved without discussion or voting, including the item on Israeli nuclear capabilities, which was presented by Lebanon as a representative of the Arab countries, despite Israel’s objection.
Dr. Ghada Waly, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, delivered the speech of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, hailing the Agency’s role and its international importance, especially its role in confronting climate change and its mission in Ukraine. In his opening speech, IAEA Director Rafael Grossi referred to the situation in Ukraine and his proposal to establish a safe zone around the Zaporizhzhya reactors. He pointed out that there are 438 nuclear reactors operating now in 32 countries, and there are 57 reactors under construction. He called for countries to cooperate with the Agency in its humanitarian project called Rays of Hope for the treatment of cancer, especially in African countries. At the end of his speech, he referred to the Agency’s significant participation in the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Conference COP27 in November 2022 in Egypt, the country in which it decided to build the nuclear plants.
The Agency’s regular budget for the coming year has been approved and amounted to 347 million euros, in addition to 91 million dollars as voluntary contributions. China came in second place in the Agency’s budget contributions at 14.7%, while the United States accounted for 25% – Japan 7.7% – Germany 5.9% – the United Kingdom 4.2% – France 4.1% – Russia 1.8% and Egypt 0.134%. Like every year, Egypt submitted a resolution proposal on the applications of the Agency’s safeguards system and the establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction. This is the draft resolution that Egypt used to submit annually and present it to a direct vote since 2006, and it always gets approval without any mechanism for its implementation. Perhaps the main reason for obtaining approval is not mentioning Israel’s name obviously in the resolution. Israel objected, as usual, to the second item of the resolution, which is related to the need for all countries in the region to join the NPT, and requested a special vote on this item, which prompted Egypt to demand voting twice on this item and on the resolution as a whole.
Egypt, a number of Arab countries, and Iran announced their support for the third negotiating conference for all concerned parties with the three sponsoring countries (the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom) to be held next November in New York under the supervision of the United Nations and chaired by Lebanon in accordance with the decisions of the 1995 Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and 2010 with the application of consensus based decision-making, not by majority, to encourage Israel and the United States to participate this time in the conference (the first conference was also held in New York in November 2019 under the chairmanship of Jordan, and the second in November 2021 also in New York, while Israel and the United States did not attend either of them).