I thank Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo and Director-General Rafael Grossi for their briefings.
My country is also following the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with deep concern. The reports that we have received about fires affecting the plant suggest a dangerous development in the conflict. The humanitarian and environmental catastrophe resulting from a serious nuclear incident would be hard to contain and recovery would be difficult. We remember clearly Fukushima and Chernobyl, and the human costs are indeed incalculable on both human health and the environment; we must all prevent such accidents from happening again.
The parties therefore must ensure the safety of the plant as well as its reactors. They must also ensure that the plant and the surrounding area are not a target and remain protected from conflict, as damage to the plant could lead to dire consequences for the entire region. And for this reason, we urge all relevant parties involved to cooperate with the IAEA to ensure and protect the safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine, and to establish a stable framework on the ground.
There are clear reasons for having special protections in place under international humanitarian law for facilities such as nuclear power plants. We stress again that any direct attack on a nuclear facility has the potential to lead to catastrophic and unimaginable consequences.
Nuclear safety is a critical issue for my country. Our participation on the IAEA’s Board of Governors is a recognition of that concern, and we will continue to make every possible effort to promote and maintain nuclear safety, and support the Director-General of the IAEA’s proposal for negotiations between the parties around this matter, and the implementation of agreed protocols. We also welcome the 2nd round of bilateral talks between Ukraine and Russia yesterday.
The Security Council is responsible for maintaining international peace and security. And as we know, nuclear threats are among the most devastating threats to humanity. The Council must make every possible effort to avoid any kind of nuclear disaster, whether from direct attack on a nuclear facility or as an unintended consequence of conflict. Such a disaster would have grave ramifications for generations to come. With regard to the conflict today, we again reiterate our call for a cessation of hostilities, for de-escalation, and for dialogue mechanisms to be leveraged and to be supported by all of us. The risks of a failure in diplomacy are too grave to consider.