The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
2 August 2001

Australian to Head International Safeguards Expert Group

I am pleased to announce that Mr John Carlson, head of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) has been appointed by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr ElBaradei, as Chairman of the Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation (SAGSI).  SAGSI is a group of international experts, which advises Dr ElBaradei on international safeguards matters.

Safeguards are a key element in international action against the spread of nuclear weapons.  They comprise inspections and various technical measures aimed at verifying that States are meeting their commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other treaties to use nuclear materials and facilities exclusively for peaceful purposes. 

Mr Carlson's appointment reflects his expertise and international standing in this area and recognises Australia's leading role in strengthening the IAEA's safeguards system. In December 1997 Australia was the first country to bring into effect an Additional Protocol for strengthened safeguards, giving IAEA inspectors access to a wider range of locations and increased information about nuclear-related activities.  In January 2001 Australia became the first country to qualify for the application of "integrated safeguards", the new IAEA safeguards system combining conventional and strengthened safeguards. Australia is encouraging and assisting others to conclude Additional Protocols, particularly in our region. 

Inquiries:
Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500
Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

FA116/2001


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