Filipino envoy to head IAEA general conference

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Philippine Ambassador to Austria Maria Zeneida Angara-Collinson was elected president of the 61st International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) general conference that opened on September 18 at the agency’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

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The IAEA works for safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, contributing to international peace and security and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

In her speech at the opening of the conference, Collinson said that while nuclear technology offers opportunities in agriculture, health and water, it also poses a threat to safety and security.

But, she added, misuse of nuclear power for acquisition of weapons remains the biggest threat.

The IAEA, according to its website, was created in 1957 in response to deep fears and expectations generated by discoveries and diverse uses of nuclear technology.

Collinson cited developments in North Korea as the real and present danger being faced by the world.

“The nuclear non-proliferation regime, which we all support, is being directly challenged and this particular threat needs to be addressed sooner rather than later,” she said in her speech.

The IAEA, according to her, should not be judged by factors beyond its control but by its readiness to resume its work under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with North Korea.

“We commend the agency for its recent pro-active measures, including the creation of a DPRK unit in the [IAEA] Secretariat,” she added, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea.

In her speech, Collinson announced the approval by the general conference of a third term for Yukiya Amano as director-general of the agency.

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