Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to nuclear security as he spoke before world leaders at a South Korea-hosted gathering on Tuesday.
In his speech before representatives of more than 50 nations attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, including the leaders of the United States, Russia and China, Sarkisian dwelled on the efforts made by his South Caucasus country to enhance the safety of its nuclear power plant and establish mechanisms for a more effective control over nuclear materials.
The two-day summit in South Korea focused on the discussion of ways to counter the mounting threat of nuclear terrorism in the world.
In a statement at the close of the gathering on March 27 the world leaders said it was the “fundamental responsibility” of all states to safeguard nuclear materials and keep them out of the hands of terrorists.
In his remarks, Sarkisian, in particular, elaborated on measures undertaken by Armenia in this direction, in particular the adoption of a law stipulating control over the export and transit of dual-use items, including nuclear and radioactive materials, as well as over the exchange of related information and intellectual products. The Armenian leader also spoke about progress made by Armenia in retraining its customs personnel and reequipping its customs facilities to prevent the smuggling of radioactive materials.
Sarkisian reassured the world community of Armenia’s strictest control over the safe operation of its Soviet-built nuclear station that the South Caucasus nation plans to replace with a new one later this decade. He said that as a nation generating nuclear energy Armenia “comprehensively” cooperates with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a global nuclear watchdog body.
“A safe operation of the nuclear power plant and raising the level of its security, its physical protection, as well as protection and control over the high-activity fuel is among the priorities of our government,” said Sarkisian, emphasizing that the inspection conducted by the IAEA’s ad hoc Operational Safety Review Team at Armenia’s Metsamor plant last year reaffirmed its full correspondence to the international safety requirements set to nuclear reactors of that generation.
In Seoul Sarkisian also responded to the remarks made by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that the Armenian nuclear station poses a threat to the region.
“This piece of brazen misinformation presented by the president of Azerbaijan about the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant here does not surprise me, because spreading distorted information about Armenia has long been the manner of action for Azerbaijan,” the Armenian president said, according to his press office.
In his turn, Sarkisian accused Azerbaijan, with which Armenia has a dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, and its other neighbor, Turkey, of blockading the landlocked Armenian state for two decades. “Besides causing other problems, this blockade does not leave Armenia any alternative in ensuring its energy independence,” he underscored.