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Monday, September 22, 2003


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2003 (VIS) - Msgr. Leo Boccardi, permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Vienna, participated in the 47th Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which took place in the Austrian capital from September 15-19.

In his speech in English, delivered on September 17, Msgr. Boccardi said that "the present moment in history brings about new challenges and new opportunities for the IAEA which has been dedicated since its foundation to the realization and promotion of a vision of 'Atoms for Peace' with the aim to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, their eventual elimination, and to share safe and secure nuclear weapons technologies, in peaceful applications for the benefit of humankind."

"In this decisive moment of history, the spirit of legitimacy must be recuperated on the international scene. The return to the value of the law and to the institutions which should be in the position to secure its validity is the best way for preventing conflicts."

Msgr. Boccardi emphasized that "the past year has been very challenging for the Agency in the field of verification. ... It is important that verification is done through impartial, international inspections, because only such activities can generate credibility and bring about good results. However, to make the world more secure, verifying the actual situation in the nuclear weapons area is not enough: we need to reinvigorate the nuclear disarmament process including real progress in nuclear weapons dismantlement."

It has been a tradition since 1957 that, during the IAEA general conference, the permanent mission of the Holy See in Vienna invite ambassadors and accredited delegates to the international organizations with headquarters in the city, and top IAEA officials to a Mass. This year the ceremony was especially solemn as it commemorated the 25th anniversary of John Paul II's pontificate.


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