Ms Colonna

Mr. Director-General, would you please report with me on this meeting that we have just had. I will speak very briefly and will leave it to the Director General to complete since it is he who is in charge of an important mission which aims to reduce the risk of nuclear incidents at the Zaporijia power plant.

The situation is indeed both unprecedented and serious, since a civilian nuclear power plant is occupied by the Russian armed forces, and moreover it is on the front line, which poses a real risk of accident, risk that we absolutely must avoid. And so that was the subject of the high-level meeting which has just ended, which was convened here by the President of the Republic in the presence of the Ukrainian Prime Minister, then we continued with our fellow ministers, and who is visiting to enable us to reflect together on how to reduce this risk of a nuclear incident or accident, but also on how to make concrete progress together towards our objective: which is to demilitarize the plant, in the respect for the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity, and along the lines proposed by the Agency and which the Director General will remind you of. I would obviously add that the context of the day makes this meeting particularly relevant.

Our exchanges have made it possible – I believe, I say this on behalf of my colleagues – to underline our support for the efforts, the mission, the courage and the initiatives of the Agency and its Director General. Support of course for the 7 classic principles of nuclear safety and security; support for the sustainability of the Agency’s presence on the ground in Zaporijia; and support for the principle of establishing a protection zone, with respect for Ukrainian sovereignty and along the lines that the Director General can specify to us.

So, allow me just to emphasize in conclusion the importance, in the context as such, of our meeting today. We wanted to mark our full support for the work of the Agency, and once again demonstrate our unity and our solidarity so that Ukraine regains its sovereignty, its territorial integrity and its independence. It remains our priority, it was also the purpose of today’s meeting. Mr. Director General.

Mr Grossi

Thank you, thank you dear Catherine, thank you Madam Minister. If we are here, at the French mission to the United Nations, it is also a mark of political commitment, personal too, of the President of the Republic. Emmanuel Macron, since the beginning of this crisis has been very present and very active in the protection of nuclear installations in Ukraine. Now, today, the meeting which was convened by him and by the Minister was essential, also involving the Ukrainian authorities and other friendly countries, in order to ensure that we can take a step forward towards the protection of a nuclear facility, which is under fire.

I said, a few days ago to the Security Council, that we were playing with fire and it continues. The situation is still deteriorating and we cannot afford the luxury of waiting for something regrettable, catastrophic to happen. We have the means to avoid it. And so we are going to mobilize politically and technically, and hence my role, the role of the Vienna Nuclear Agency, to propose technical parameters aimed at giving the necessary protection to this installation.

After our meeting today, I will continue with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba talking about the details, the technical parameters which I have just referred to. I also had the opportunity to meet the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr Lavrov, with whom we also started these discussions. Now, the process is launched, we have to succeed and this support from France, friendly countries and the international community is essential to avoid the unthinkable, a nuclear disaster in Ukraine. Thanks.

Q – Mr Grossi, is there still a real risk of a nuclear accident in Zaporizhia today?

Mr Grossi – Obviously, as long as there will be b*mbardments on a nuclear installation, the risks are enormous.

Q – So what do we do?

Mr Grossi – We have to protect her. We know how to do it and we are going to propose to the Ukrainian authorities the technical parameters to do it.

Q – Do you think demilitarization is possible?

Mr Grossi – Demilitarizing is a but of course, achievable, but for now the agenda is to protect. Because we’re under fire.

QMr. Grossi, how do you continue these safe talks when the President of Russia is talking about a partial general mobilization, a referendum in the area where the nuclear power plant is, it seems that these talks are going to be swept away. And two, if you manage to get these talks on the road, I mean who is supposed to enforce this? They won’t be your two inspectors, so how do you prevent that from happening?

Mr GrossiWell, there are a lot of affirmations in what you say. First of all, I would say that even in the worst conditions, diplomacy must never stop. We can’t just throw our hands up and say “well look at what’s being said, let’s go” and hope that something will happen to resolve this situation. It is our responsibility to do so by putting pragmatic, realistic and achievable proposals on the table. And that’s what we’re trying to do. Regarding the respect of the area, we think we are confident that we are experts, we are working towards expanding our presence there. Of course, we’re an international agency, we don’t have enforcement powers, but we do have one power, and that’s to tell the truth and report it to the world, and that in itself has tremendous value.

Ms ColonnaThis is a work in progress, so full details cannot be given at this time. Perhaps the director should mention that he met Mr. Lavrov this morning; so it’s really a work in progress. Thanks.

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