SIERRA Leone has joined more than 150 countries as signatory to the Additional Protocol to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.
At a signing ceremony held at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, Dr Lansana Gberie, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the UN and other International Organisations in Switzerland, handed over the Additional Protocol (AP), signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prof. David J. Francis, to Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director-General of the IAEA. Grossi signed the Additional Protocol on behalf of the IAEA. At the signing ceremony Sierra Leone also deposited the Amendment to its Safeguards Agreement with a Small Quantities Protocol (SQP).
Following Sierra Leone’s acceptance of the text of the model Additional Protocol developed by the IAEA, the government submitted a request for approval to the IAEA’s Board of Governors. The Board approved the text and authorised the Director General to countersign with the Government of Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Gberie remarked that the signing of the Additional Protocol and the amendment to the Small Quantities Protocol underscores Sierra Leone’s strong commitment to non-proliferation and to the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology to meet the SDGs.
‘This is an important step for Sierra Leone, and another demonstration of our nation’s commitment to multilateralism. We are commitment to complete operational transparency and the highest standards of verification with respect to non-proliferation,’ Ambassador Gberie said.
In his address during the ceremony on October 31, Ambassador Gberie also noted that Sierra Leone ‘attaches great importance to the IAEA and its mandate which contributes through its unique expertise to global peace, security and development, nuclear and radiation safety. We have been a Member State of the Agency since 1967.
‘As demonstrated by the submission of these protocols today, my Government is working closely with the Agency to build the strong legal, institutional and regulatory framework needed for the safe application of nuclear science and technology. We strongly believe that the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology provides solutions to socioeconomic challenges.’
Currently, in partnership with the IAEA, Sierra Leone is in the process of establishing the first radiotherapy facility for cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as developing a qualified workforce to improve the quality of lives of cancer patients through the provision of radiotherapy services.
The Director-General of IAEA, on his part, congratulated Sierra Leone for concluding its Additional Protocol (AP) and amending the Small Quantities Protocol (SQP) and highlighted the importance of these protocols in ensuring that all nuclear materials are used for peaceful purposes.
The Additional Protocol is a supplementary agreement that builds on the Safeguards Agreements that non-nuclear-weapon state parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), have individually concluded with the IAEA. It was developed in 1997 to strengthen the IAEA’s ability to verify non-nuclear-weapon state parties compliance with the NPT.