Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative
At the outset, I would like to thank Secretary-General Guterres, as well as IAEA Director-General Grossi, for their briefings. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend the UAE’s gratitude to the entire IAEA team who visited the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant for their professionalism and dedication under extremely difficult circumstances.
The IAEA’s mission was a crucial first step in assessing the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. The UAE welcomes the cooperation extended by both parties which made this visit possible and allowed access to the power plant. We hope that the constructive spirit of technical cooperation on all matters related to the operation and protection of the Zaporizhzhia plant will continue to prevail, and such cooperation will be extended to all other nuclear facilities throughout Ukraine.
At the same time, we echo the concerns of Director-General Grossi, and the IAEA in its report issued today, that the physical integrity of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has been violated several times. As the report highlights, it is important that measures are put in place to prevent a nuclear accident that could arise from physical damage to the plant. In this respect, recent news that the plant was again disconnected from the power grid, due to fire caused by shelling, is a source of serious concern. This demonstrates that, even with the IAEA’s presence at the plant, de-escalation remains critically important to guarantee its safety before it is too late.
Disruption of the external power supply to the plant and any incident undermining the safety and security of its staff could have disastrous consequences and is unacceptable. Nuclear plants, such as Zaporizhzhia, are afforded special protection under international humanitarian law and these protections must be respected. The risks of a nuclear disaster are simply too great, and the consequences too terrible.
As we have stated before, the UAE strongly supports the seven pillars of nuclear safety and security articulated by the IAEA and calls on both parties to the conflict to ensure that they are respected. It is alarming that the IAEA’s report today confirmed that all seven pillars have been compromised.
The safe operation of the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant is crucial not only because of the dire effects of a potential nuclear incident, but also because of the critical need of its regular supply of power for civilians. This is all the more so with winter approaching.
Going forward, the continued presence of international inspectors from the IAEA will remain essential in order to assess safe operations and to stabilize the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant. We welcome the IAEA’s commitment to remain on the ground while at the same time undertaking further periodic technical visits.
Ultimately, however, the parties to the conflict and the international community must work towards a return to normalcy as soon as possible. The most crucial step for this is a cessation of hostilities and a diplomatic end to this conflict. All of us on this Council must do all we can to support every effort to this end.
Thank you, Mr. President