Delivered By: Ghasaq Shaheen
I would like to thank Director-General Grossi for his valuable briefing today. I extend my gratitude to him and his team at the IAEA for their efforts since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. The UAE welcomes your ongoing engagement with all relevant actors to ensure the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
This report follows months of careful assessment and visits to the site by the IAEA, and we appreciate the technical approach of the team of experts which emphasises nuclear safety and security on the ground. We urge all relevant parties to cooperate with the IAEA.
The situation surrounding Zaporizhzhia remains alarming. The fact that Chernobyl and Fukushima have been invoked in this Chamber and elsewhere shows that the world has not forgotten how grave the consequences of a nuclear misstep could be. It also reminds us that when it comes to nuclear safety, our security is intertwined. A nuclear accident would have catastrophic consequences for Ukraine, the wider region, and the world.
We remain concerned by disconnections of the power plant from the Ukrainian electrical grid. This has resulted in an interruption of energy supply that further threatens the safety and lives of Ukrainians already living amidst a severe humanitarian situation.
De-escalation is critically important to guarantee the plant’s normal functioning and to prevent a nuclear disaster from becoming an unintended consequence of this war.
Ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities is of the utmost importance for the UAE. We recall the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law of necessity, proportionality and distinction and the special protections that nuclear facilities are afforded under international humanitarian law. This includes under the Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, as well as the obligation to take care to protect the natural environment against widespread, long-term, and severe damage. These obligations must be protected and respected.
In recent weeks we have seen positive developments emerge: the Black Sea Grain Initiative will continue for another 60 days.
These efforts are proof of what can be achieved when there is political will. The Initiative should be taken seriously. And by opening the door to political discussions, the Initiative’s potential as a confidence building measure could lay the groundwork for further talks aimed at a resolution to this conflict.
As we have said many times before, the cessation of hostilities throughout Ukraine is the only way to guarantee the prevention of a nuclear miscalculation. We reiterate our call for de-escalation and dialogue to bring this conflict to a peaceful, sustainable solution in line with the UN Charter.
I would like to conclude by congratulating Switzerland for its outstanding presidency of the Council this month.
Thank you, Mr. President.