Share Dr. Yousri Abu Shadi speaks at the sixty-seventh General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency
From September 25-29, 2023, Dr. Yousry Abu Shadi, a member of the Council, attends the work of the sixty-seventh General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The agency’s 177 member states were invited to attend the conference (the last two countries to join from Africa were Gambia and Cape Verde), and high-level delegations, including the Vice President of the Republic of Iran, Muhammad Islam, and a large number of ministers of energy, science, foreign affairs, and the environment, some of whom spoke via recorded video. The Thai Ambassador, Ms. Vilawan Mengklatan, was chosen to chair the conference (she is the first woman to preside over the General Conference since the agency was established in 1957), succeeding the Italian Ambassador Alexandro Cortese.
This year, an Egyptian delegation (non-foreign) attended and included the heads of the Atomic Energy Authority, nuclear plants, nuclear materials, and nuclear oversight. Egypt’s Minister Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity, delivered a speech recorded on video. The delegation was headed by the Egyptian Ambassador to Vienna, Mohamed Al-Mulla. At the beginning of the conference, Yemen objected to not being nominated for the position of Vice-President of the conference due to the objection of one country (mostly Iran). It was also approved to extend the term of Rafael Grossi, Director-General of the Agency, for the next four years. Dr. Ghada Waly, the United Nations representative in Vienna, delivered a speech by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and reiterated her praise of the agency’s role and its international importance, especially its role in confronting climate change and their mission in Ukraine.
Representatives of 136 countries spoke at the conference, and their speeches were published on the official conference website, except for one country, Hungary, represented by its Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, who had the same position as last year, due to his refusal to implement energy sanctions against Russia and his rejection of European Union pressure and the continuation of building the two Russian reactors. In Bacs, Hungary.
The agency’s regular budget for next year was approved and amounted to 370 million euros (an increase of 23 million) in addition to 60 million dollars (31 million less) of voluntary participation. China came in second place in sharing the agency’s budget with a rate of 14.7%, while the United States 25% – Japan 7.7% – Germany 5.9% – the United Kingdom 4.2% – France 4.1% – Russia 1.8% and Egypt 0.134%.
In his speech, the Minister thanked Dr. Mohamed Shaker thanked the agency for its participation in the climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, as well as its Rays of Hope initiative to treat cancer in 7 African countries. He called for lifting the unjustified restrictions imposed on nuclear technology, the importance of helping developing countries in the nuclear field, and the necessity of increasing the budget for technical cooperation. Dr. noted. Thankful for Egypt’s refusal to place the Additional Protocol as a condition for some cooperation activities with the Agency until the universality of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is achieved. The Egyptian Minister indicated that a construction permit has been issued for the four reactors in Dabaa, and construction has already begun. He also referred to Egypt’s ratification of the Nuclear Safety Agreement (as the Egyptian delegation officially presented the ratification papers on the same day to the IAEA Director).
For the first time, the agency’s agenda included a request from Palestine and the Arab countries to change the status of the State of Palestine in the agency as an observer member to a member with membership rights. Egypt submitted a proposal for a resolution to change Palestine’s status as an observer at the agency’s conference and its right to membership and participation in its activities, especially after Palestine signed with the agency. The safeguards agreement, as well as the nuclear safety agreement and the United Nations’ support for it. Ambassador Mohamed Al-Mulla, head of the Egyptian delegation, requested that the resolution be adopted by consensus of all countries, but Israel strongly objected to including this item for discussion, and to submitting the resolution proposal, and the United States strongly supported it, which called on the president of the conference to hold a vote, and the result came with overwhelming consensus in support of the Egyptian-supported request. From Arab, Islamic and non-aligned countries (92 supporting countries, 5 objecting and 21 abstaining), the decision was officially adopted to change the status of Palestine from observer to country participating in the agency’s activities. After the decision, the Palestinian ambassador spoke for the first time at the conference in his new capacity.
After making the decision in favor of the State of Palestine, the United States representative banned the agency and all its agencies from introducing any changes in the form of dealing with the State of Palestine. The Israeli delegate also strongly attacked all Arab countries for their lack of cooperation in the field of regional security, and for presenting the item on Israeli nuclear capabilities, which as usual was not presented to a vote. Hence, it was not done like all previous years except 2009, which the agency director did not take advantage of at that time in trying to implement the decision to inspect all nuclear facilities in Israel.
Like every year, Egypt submitted a proposal for a resolution on the implementation of the Agency’s safeguards system and freeing the Middle East from nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. This is a resolution that Egypt has been accustomed to submitting annually and putting it to a direct vote since 2006. It always receives approval without any mechanism for its implementation, and perhaps the most important reason for its approval. Approval not to explicitly mention the name of Israel in the resolution. As usual, Israel objected to the second item of the resolution, which concerns the need for all countries in the region to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and requested a special vote on this item, which led Egypt to demand a double vote on this item and on the resolution as a whole. This is a scenario that has been repeated annually for many years. The result of the vote was as follows:
The second item: 114 countries agreed to this item, one country rejected it (Israel), and 11 countries abstained from voting (the United States – Canada – Bahamas – India – Albania – Rwanda – Togo – Angola – Uganda – Democratic Republic of the Congo – Tanzania). India is accustomed to justifying its abstention from voting because it does not believe that the agency is the politically responsible body for calling for this treaty.
The resolution as a whole: 115 countries approved it, and no country rejected it, with 8 countries abstaining from voting (the United States – Israel – Canada – Bahamas – Rwanda – Togo – Uganda – Tanzania).
In addition, 11 new countries were chosen as members of the Board of Governors (which totals 35 countries): Algeria – Armenia – Bangladesh – Burkina Faso – Ecuador – Indonesia – Korea – the Netherlands – Paraguay – Spain – and Ukraine. The number of Arab countries in the Council has become three (Algeria – Qatar – Saudi Arabia) and the number of African countries is four (South Africa – Burkina Faso – Kenya – Namibia).
In the exhibitions, there were exhibitions from several participating countries, including Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Russia, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Bangladesh and the United States.