Argentina's IAEA Candidate Says Safeguards Accord With Palestine Has No Political Context

Argentina's IAEA Candidate Says Safeguards Accord With Palestine Has No Political Context

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 10th September, 2019) The signing of a safeguards agreement between Palestine and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) does not imply that the organization recognizes Palestine as a state, the accord only means that IAEA inspectors may conduct inspections and verification visits, Rafael Grossi, the Argentine ambassador to Vienna and one of the four candidates for the position of the IAEA director general, told Sputnik.

"It is technical work. It has done so and it will do so with the state of Palestine with regards to some very small quantities of nuclear material in the country. That does not mean that the agency, the IAEA, has said that we do recognize that state of Palestine as an independent state. I want to be very clear on this because I think this does not mean as I said any demeanor on Palestine, as I said my own country and many others have recognized Palestine, but the agency as such does not have a position on that," Grossi said.

The diplomat explained that the agency comprised many states with different stances on the issue, including both those recognizing and not recognizing Palestine, and therefore the watchdog only sought to recognize these two realities.

"So when you look at the documents of the IAEA you will see, and not only on this, there are other contentious issues that the agency sometimes needs to be dealing with, territorial issues, the inspection of certain facilities on territories which may be under international dispute. On these issues the agency never takes a position on the fundamental underlining political situation," Grossi stated.

On June 18, the IAEA concluded a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with Palestine granting the agency access to its territory to ensure that safeguards are applied regarding nuclear materials. The move, however, sparked uproar in Israel, which claimed it implies the recognition of the existence of a sovereign Palestinian state. The organization's spokesperson then said the signing of a safeguards agreement "does not imply the expression by the IAEA of any opinion regarding the status of Palestine and doesn't affect its status in the IAEA."

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