Ambassador A.L. Abdul Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Vienna, Austria, was elected by acclamation as President of the 58th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) yesterday (Sep. 23). He took over the office of President from South Africa's Xolisa Mabhongo who held the post last year.
Accepting the honour conferred on Sri Lanka by IAEA General Conference which consists of 162 Member States, Ambassador Azeez emphasized the continued relevance of IAEA in the area of international peace and security as the world was faced with a myriad of challenges today. Peaceful use of nuclear energy and technology through technical cooperation and verification of nuclear safeguards makes an important contribution to the economic advancement of many countries, he added.
He called upon multilateral bodies to adopt a consensus building approach towards addressing issues, stressing that such an approach was key to ensuring greater legitimacy to both the processes and their outcomes. He also highlighted that the increasing number of IAEA activities held in Sri Lanka in the past three years is testament to the peace and stability prevalent in the country. He also conveyed the greetings of His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka to the delegations.
Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency addressed the Conference at the inaugural session, attended by more than 100 Ministers and high officials and around 4, 000 delegates. The message of the UN Secretary General was read out by Ms. Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
The General Conference will continue until 26th September, under Chairmanship of Ambassador Azeez. Sri Lanka Delegation to the General Conference is led by Ms. Dhara Wijethilaka, Secretary to the Ministry of Technology and Research.