Speech held by Ambassador Bernhard Brasack on 20 February 2007 in GenevaMr. President,
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union on use of radiological materials by terrorists.
2. First of all, I would like to congratulate you, Mr President, on the assumption of the post as the President of the Conference on Disarmament. I can assure you of the European Union’s full support in your efforts to guide the work of this Conference.
3. Allow me also, Mr President, to congratulate Ambassador Draganov of Bulgaria and Ambassador Wibisono of Indonesia on the assumption of the post as Coordinators. The EU would like to assure you, Mister President, as well as all Coordinators, of our full support in your efforts to guide and lead our work under the different agenda items.
4. Since the first establishment of our traditional Agenda in the CD the security environment has changed substantially and so have the global challenges to international security. One of the new challenges that emerged is the risk of terrorists setting off a so-called “dirty bomb”. This risk is real. The tragedy of 11 September 2001 has demonstrated that terrorists are ready to use any means to commit their criminal acts and to spread fear. These devices would not constitute real weapons of mass destruction, but due to their mainly psychological effect, work as “weapons of mass disruption”, creating terror particularly in densely populated areas. The dominant effect would be the moral and economic damage due to massive fear and panic and disruption that such incident would spur, causing possibly the evacuation or relocation of the affected population.
5. In this context, the EU welcomes the adoption in September 2006 of the United Nations General Assembly's Counter-Terrorism Strategy which reiterated the need to strengthen coordination and cooperation among States in combating the smuggling of nuclear, chemical, biological, radiological (CBRN) and other potentially deadly materials. The EU would like to call for renewed efforts to address the dangers posed by the uncontrolled release of radioactive materials.”
6. Radioactive substances or nuclear waste not under full national control might be acquired by terrorists and used in dirty bombs. Indeed, “dirty bombs” could be the weapon of choice of terrorists.
7. The EU welcomes the revised Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources approved by the IAEA in September 2003 and Resolution 60/73 entitled “Preventing the risk of radiological terrorism” in the First Committee of the UN- General Assembly in October 2005. Already in 2004 the EU Member States adopted a Council Directive on the control of high activity sealed radioactive sources that covers most parts of the IAEA Code of Conduct.
8. We welcome the amendments made to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and urge all countries to sign, ratify and implement CPPNM this new version as soon as possible.
9. Other international answers to the problem might, inter alia, come from the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and form UN-Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004).
10. The EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction of 12 December 2003 stated that the risk that terrorists will acquire -among others - radiological materials adds a new critical dimension to the terrorist threat. It further stated, that non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control can make an essential contribution in the global fight against terrorism by reducing the risk of non state actors gaining access to - among others - radioactive materials. It is an integral part of that EU- Strategy to enhance the security of proliferation-sensitive materials, equipment and expertise in the European Union against unauthorized access and risks of diversion through – among others – improving the control of high activity radioactive sources. Furthermore, in third countries outside the EU, the EU shall promote the adoption of similar measures.
11. The EU urges all States to work together in the framework of the existing international instruments to effectively prevent terrorists from acquiring radiological material and underlines the importance of national measures in this regard.
Thank you, Mr President