The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA151 - 8 November 2004

Regional Countries to Strengthen Nuclear Controls

Regional countries today expressed their firm resolve to combat nuclear weapons proliferation and the threat of nuclear terrorism.

At the Asia-Pacific Nuclear Safeguards and Security Conference in Sydney, participating countries agreed to work together in a sustained and comprehensive effort to enhance the nuclear safeguards and security framework.

Hosted by the Australian Government, the conference was attended by Ministers and their representatives from regional countries and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei.

The conference has served to give all participants a greater understanding of the threat posed by nuclear proliferation among states and the emerging risks of nuclear terrorism. These threats cannot be ignored.

I welcome the statement issued by participating countries at the conclusion of the conference outlining a range of agreed priorities.

The statement emphasises that the highest international standards of nuclear safeguards and security supports national and regional security. They are also essential to realise the benefits of nuclear energy. As countries commit to international standards the incentive for all to meet this best practice will be increased.

The conference statement will be circulated at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, to be held in New York in May 2005.

The conference was a practical example of Australia's strong commitment to working with Asia-Pacific countries to combat nuclear weapons proliferation and the emerging threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism. It showed again that Australia is ready to take the lead in order to preserve regional peace and security.

See also: Asia-Pacific Nuclear Safeguards and Security Conference: Protecting Against Nuclear Terrorism

Media Inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 6277 7500 - Justin Lee (DFAT Media Liaison) 6261 1555

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