Ladies and gentlemen,
Throughout history, almost every advance in international cooperation has been born of the necessity to confront a universal threat—and the need to face it multilaterally.
This is why Georgia welcomed with enthusiasm the nuclear security summit format launched two years ago in Washington.
None of our countries is immune from the grave risks posed by nuclear proliferation and trafficking. None of us alone is capable of defusing these risks. And so, we can and we must put aside any rivalries or tensions and work together.
Being gathered here in Seoul has a special meaning and highlights the special urgency of this issue.
I would like to thank the Korean authorities for their initiative to host the summit here and for the exceptional job they have done in organizing it.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Georgia, given our location at one of the globe’s most dangerous crossroads, also faces a heightened nuclear security risk.
In recent years, and in cooperation with our allies, we have interdicted several traffickers seeking to illegally transport radioactive materials across our borders.
This is why we have made it one of our highest priorities to strengthen our national nuclear and radioactive security capabilities and to deepen cooperation with the relevant international organizations.
Since the 2010 summit in Washington, Georgia has implemented all the changes to which we committed ourselves, including:
· Ratifying the Law of Georgia on Nuclear and Radiation Safety
· Ratifying amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
· Joining the IAEA Code of Conduct (CoC) of Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, and recognition of the principles of the CoC’s supplementary Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources.
· Signing the JAA (Joint Analysis Agreement) with EURATOM on Forensics Analyses of Nuclear Material.
· Signing an Agreement with the US Department of Energy on Enhancing the Security and Physical Protection of High Activity Radiation Sources
· Joining the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Illicit Trafficking (GICNIT)
Despite all this progress, critical threats remain, on which we have unfortunately no direct control, —owing, above all, to the existence of “gray zones” in international law.
I’m thinking in particular of the Russian-occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region, two real black holes without any international monitoring.
Despite several cases of nuclear trafficking that have originated in these occupied territories, the international community received almost no information from inside these zones.
There are no international verification mechanisms or no way to launch investigations there .
More generally,, we need to redouble our efforts to increase nuclear security in the post-Soviet world—where there are vast amounts of nuclear materials and states that need help to fight against traffickers or dangerous activist groups. .
We need to have a robust international engagement for the long term in our region.
We need to help the institution building process.
Because stable, transparent governance remains the best antidote to all the traffics.
In the immediate future, we should all fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on the prevention of non-state actors from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery, and related materials.
Georgia welcomes the extension of its mandate till 2021 and remains is to its implementation.
We also should elaborate new regulations under the already ratified Law on Nuclear and Radiation Safety; foster active participation on the establishment of international legal documents on nuclear and radiation safety through the International Atomic Energy Agency; and continue the ongoing capacity building on border security, safety and security of radioactive sources, upgrading of physical protection systems, information security, and human resource development.
In closing, I would simply underscore as some others have just before that the nature of the world’s challenges is changing.
The old threat of cross-border aggression remains—unfortunately,
But the world also increasingly confronts a range of more diffuse challenges that, as President Obama has said, “cannot be contained with the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.”
In such a world, the calculations that underlie security change as well.
We all need not only a balance of power, but also a balance of cooperation.
Georgia has chosen to be a country that lives its values at home and abroad. I believe this makes us a reliable partner in the new efforts to build cooperation on crucial matters of global security.