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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

'Big boys' undermining non-proliferation regime

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 20:42:31

The following is the full text of Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei's speech at the 44th Munich Conference on Security Policy:

I usually look at security from a wide angle zoom. You look here from a European transatlantic zoom; I look at it not from a European zoom but from the Indian perspective, the Chinese, the Burkina Faso, and South African. I would like to spend a few minutes on this.

I saw it on the wall that the question is "Is the world in disarray?" and unfortunately my answer is "yes".

The world is in disarray. The world is going through a period of insecurity both at the individual level and at the state level. I think we all agree on that. You just look at the security we have to go at the airport. It's an awful kind of life we have to go through.

I look at insecurity from the very beginning, from poverty and I'll tell you how it ends up with weapons of mass destruction. I look also how weapons of mass destruction in fact exacerbate our insecurity. It doesn't solve any of our problems.

I'll just give you a few figures. We still live in a world where we have two billion people who live under $2 a day; one third of our fellow human beings. We have 850 million people who go to bed hungry every day.

James Morris used to run the World Food Program, told me that if he would get one percent on what we spent on our armaments a years nobody would go to bed hungry.

We have 20 thousand people who die every day because they are too poor to live. Sanctity of human life; are we serious about the sanctity of human life?

What did we do in 1994 when we lost 6 hundred thousand people, Tutsis in Rwanda? Are many of you aware that 3.8 million people died through the so-called second Congo War? Most of you don't even know that there was a so called second Congo War.

What are we doing right now in Darfur other than bringing our hand? I heard a lot of talk today about Afghanistan and your contribution. Right now we have 2 hundred thousand people who have lost their life in Darfur, over 2 million people who have been displaced.

I was told today that the UN could no even get 24 helicopters. The Secretary General also made a commitment for four from Ethiopia and Bangladesh. That is the offer he got.

You talk and we talk. We have chronic conflicts that have been going on for decades. Whether you are right or wrong the Palestinian issue has been there for 40 years. People have been under occupation for 40 years. Kashmir has been there for 50 years. The Korean issue has been there for 50 years.

These are conflicts that, no we cannot resolve, but we have no really invested in resolving.

We have the energy problem. We have the drug problem, organized crime and then extremism. We all talk about "the war on terror".

But we have to see where that is coming from. These are people who have lost hope, who are humiliated, who are repressed by their own governments; feel badly treated by the outside world. I always say that people are not born Mother Teresa or suicide bombers. It's the environment within which they grow up. And unless we change that environment, we will continue to see more extremism.

I come originally from this region (I've just been back) and I see the sense of anger, emotion, and humiliation that are there.

None of that stuff is going to be solved by hard power. I am always frankly stunned by that we are going to pour another 15 billion dollars into the Middle East. At the time the Middle East need the most education, governance, civil society. That's if you really want o reach out. It is not the hardware. It's a soft power.

I come to my area which is arms control. What is the environment? The environment that we still have 37 years after the NPT has been concluded. After a commitment by the weapon states to move towards a nuclear disarmament, we still have 27 thousand warheads. 27 thousand warheads in existence.

We still have weapons deployed at the so-called Cold War status alert. Sam Nunn will tell you who is the expert on that it is insane. That we need to redeploy so at least establish a physical barrier between the warhead and the delivery system. So at least move from half an hour when the president needs to order a retaliatory attack to a week. Why do we still maintain a Cold War status alert?

The nuclear technology is out of the tube. Completely out of the tube. We have seen that any country with an average infrastructure can develop the know-how to develop a nuclear warhead. And we have seen as witnessed by Iran a new phenomenon in addition to the nine weapon states you can be a nuclear weapon capable, while continue to be kosher within the NPT treaty. That is a new phenomenon, which you really have to address.

A lot of people including Iran, which I will come to, are really moving into that direction. You don't really need to have a nuclear weapon. It's enough to buy yourself an insurance policy, as I call it, by developing the capability and sit on it. You can come with an economic justification for it. But let us no kid ourselves, 90 percent of it is insurance. Is a deterrence? why do I have a deterrence? Because the big boys continue to rely on nuclear weapons.

The big boys continue to say we need nuclear weapons, we need to develop more modern nuclear weapons, we need mini-nukes, we need bunker busters, but it is bad for you to have nuclear weapons.

Simply if you go anywhere people will tell you this is called double standard. It is not sustainable. And I try as much obviously in my job to make sure that we do as much to avoid proliferation but we are working against the tide. Unless as Frank Walter mentioned weapon states have to lead an example. They have to show the way that we are making our way to move towards nuclear disarmament.

That is no now a fantasy. When I see people like George Schultz or Henry Kissinger or Sam Nunn talking about abolition, these are not people who are naive or no aware of security deterrents. These are people who through their maturity have come to the conclusion that nuclear weapons as they call it is increasingly hazardous, decreasingly effective and if you really want to protect ourselves, you need to move towards nuclear abolition.

The one issue which is also the most threatening to me is illicit trafficking: the possibility that extremist groups will get their hands on nuclear weapons or nuclear material. To me this is the biggest danger we are facing today.

Because any country-- even if they have nuclear weapons-- will continue to have a rational approach where the nuclear deterrents will apply. They knew if they use nuclear weapons they will be pulverized.

For an extremist group the concept of deterrents is irrelevant. If they have it they will use it.

We still have around 150 cases per year of illicit trafficking of nuclear material. That is a scary number. Thank God it is not the number that they can use to build a weapon but there is quite an obvious interest in that. The difficulty is that a lot of material stolen has never been recovered and a lot of the material recovered has never been reported stolen. The physical protection of this system needs a lot to be desired.

Whether these are individuals, whether there is organized crime behind them, whether worse here are terrorists, this is still a question mark. We need to know this is the number one security threat we are facing.

What should we do? We need to slash the number of nuclear weapons; we need to change the deployment status. We need to develop what I call a multinational approach to the fuel cycle. No country alone should have the capability to enrich or process. Germany is taking the lead in proposing a multinational enrichment facility.

In my view at the end of the day, every country should not have an enrichment facility or a reprocessing facility. We need to move on the multilateral disarmament, CTBT was considered the jewel in the crown of the Non-proliferation Treaty. It is lying somewhere I think in the cellar in the US. The treaty banning production of nuclear material for weapon purposes has been stalled for ten years.

So these are all doable things, which can send a very powerful message that the world is no moving towards more reliance on nuclear weapons but is moving towards abolition of nuclear weapons. In that environment you will have a much stronger moral authority to go after any new proliferate and as Kissinger has said we obviously need a system to deter and respond to possible cheaters.

I mean we are not just going to abolish, we need a system to do that.

Finally I think what we really need to do is we need to have a new global security structure that does not depend on nuclear weapons. I heard a lot here about transatlantic security and I ask you to also consider the security of others. You are one third of them, this global village that we have.

You need to consider the question, shield versus abolition. That is the question you should legitimately ask. You should ask yourself is it hardware versus software. Is it hardware that is going to protect us or the software, or the soft power if you like.

You need a global institution. We all talk about NATO but we haven't really talked about the UN. You need the UN. This is the global institution; you need to empower the Security Council. You need to empower the UN to be able. NATO could be the military arm authorized by the UN, as it has been done in Afghanistan.

Not in Kosovo. Kosovo was legitimate but not legal in my view. However I was needed. But you need to get the authorization by the Security Council and by the UN. Because that is the global system you need to have.

Finally on the elephant in the room which is Iran. Here is a lot I can say but I can basically say a few words.

There is three phases of Iran. There is the past, the present and the future.

The past as mentioned they have not been very transparent in telling us what they have being doing in term of experiments I should say. We have in terms of experiments in terms of procurement. Their argument that they were not able to get anything is also true. They could not get a nuclear power reactor; they had to go underground.

However, it created a confidence deficit, because they did not report to us. They were in violation of their treaty obligations. We have to reconstruct that past.

We are making good progress and I am going to report at the end of the month. We are making good progress in clarifying the past. The only remaining issue in fact raised in the NIE whether hey had any weaponization activity is the most difficult, is the most tricky.

But we are working on it in fact this week to try to see whether in fact they had a program in the past and if they did, they have to come clean.

On the present, I think although they are not implementing de jure the Additional Protocol, de facto they are allowing us to have a good understanding of what is happening today.

Then we come to the most complex issue which is the future. Basically the suspension is a statement by the Security Council, we do no trust you to have that technology and therefore you should suspend and obviously they have been urging the Iranians to suspend in order to build confidence.

I should make this clear this is an issue which is not verifiable. I cannot verify future intentions; I cannot verify a regime behavior in the future. That is clearly a question of confidence building.

Confidence could only be built through direct negotiations, you can have sanctions, you can have pressure, but at the end of the day it's a question of we don't trust this regime because of its behavior we don' trust this regime because it has certain ideology.

Or the regime will tell you, as they will tell you, they also have their own insecurities, whether you agree with them or not.

That's why I keep always saying that you need to get in direct negotiations. The earlier we get into direct negotiations which would clearly cover the regional security, because the Iranian issue is the tip of the iceberg of regional security in the Middle East.

The earlier we can do that I think the better secure all of us will be.

You can listen to the speech at, the official website of the Munich Security Conference.


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