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UN: Tougher Non-Proliferation Regime Called For

Published: Fri 13 Feb 2004 10:56 AM
UN Nuclear Watchdog Calls For Tougher Non-Proliferation Regime
The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency today called for the urgent strengthening of the world's non-proliferation regime to ensure that nuclear materials and even weapons are not acquired by terrorists.
Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/MediaAdvisory/2004/medadvise200402.html
said the existing rules and safeguards are not tough enough to deal with modern realities and the world risks "self-destruction" unless it updates them.
Speaking at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna, Mr. ElBaradei said he welcomed proposals unveiled yesterday by President George W. Bush of the United States to introduce such measures as tighter controls over the export of nuclear materials and protocols allowing broader inspection rights.
"I have the same concern and sense of urgency expressed by President Bush to shore up the non-proliferation regime and international security system," he said.
Urging the international community to get together to quickly lay out appropriate reforms, Mr. ElBaradei said the IAEA needs more authority to conduct inspections, nuclear exports must be controlled more strictly and there must be accelerated moves towards nuclear disarmament.
Mr. ElBaradei elaborated on his proposals for improving and strengthening the non-proliferation regime in an opinion article published in The New York Times today.
"If the world does not change course, we risk self-destruction," he warned in the article.
Mr. ElBaradei said there is currently not enough of a penalty for countries that withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. He suggested an automatic review of the country's move by the UN Security Council as a minimum.
Mr. ElBaradei also suggested that the five States recognized under the treaty as nuclear powers - China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the US - must make verifiable and irreversible moves towards disarmament. This would include bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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