Minty congratulates new head of nuclear watchdog

South Africa will support the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) newly appointed director general Yukiya Amano’s dedication to the elimination of nuclear weapons, Ambassador Abdul Minty said on Friday.

Addressing a board of governors meeting in Vienna, where Amano had earlier faced off against other candidates including Minty, the ambassador congratulated the new director general.

In a speech prepared for delivery, he said: “We wish you all the best in discharging the responsibilities bestowed upon you through this appointment.”

He assured Amano of South Africa’s support and cooperation as there was a collective responsibility to preserve the agency’s impartiality and integrity and to further enhance its contribution to human well-being.

Describing the election process as “long, drawn out and hard fought”, Minty also thanked the African Union, many in the board of governors, the wider membership of the IAEA and the secretariat for their support.

He also thanked the South African government for its decision to nominate him for the important position.

“All this sincere support is highly appreciated and we will build thereon, and set aside our differences, to ensure that the agency continues its unique and independent contribution to humanity.”

Minty reiterated that his nomination was not initiated to oppose any other candidate, but based on South Africa’s unique experience related to nuclear issues and in particular its ability and commitment to forge a consensus in a diverse society.

“We were convinced that we could have made an exceptional contribution to the management of the agency.”

He also called for continued impartial and courageous voices when addressing disputes around nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

“The IAEA is our most valuable asset in promoting this common interest, but we should be vigilant that in advancing the peaceful applications of nuclear energy this is not based on the premise of denying developing countries access to advanced technologies needed for their own development,” he said.—Sapa

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