UN Security Council Briefing on the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine
Let me begin by thanking Mr. Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for his briefing on the deeply concerning situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The information provided confirms our worst fears of a growing risk of a potential nuclear incident, with catastrophic consequences for human lives and the environment, if the indiscriminate shelling of the facility does not cease forthwith. Ghana unequivocally condemns the militarization of the precincts of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as well as the deliberate attacks on the powerlines and sensitive units of the facility. It appears that the attacks are taking place with no due regard to the deadly consequences that these unacceptable actions could lead to, particularly, the accidental emissions of radioactive material.
We also call for the unconditional withdrawal and removal of all military personnel and equipment, and insist on the return of the facility to its accredited personnel. We welcome the public pronouncements of Secretary General Antonio Guterres, regarding the rapidly developing grave situation and hereby fully endorses his call for an immediate access to be granted to international inspectors from the IAEA to enable an independent assessment of the nuclear safety standards and safeguards of the facility. Under no circumstances should nuclear facilities
intended for peaceful purposes be subjected to such attacks. We call for the immediate and full respect for the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment by all the armed parties.
The world can ill-afford another nuclear disaster. We cannot forget too soon the horrors of the 1986 Chernobyl accident and the consequent nuclear catastrophe which left in its wake long-term effects of radiation exposure to many people in Ukraine and parts of Europe even to date. The warnings of the IAEA must therefore be soberly reflected upon by this Council and should galvanize us to quickly deploy every effort, in a unified manner, to assist the IAEA to mitigate and suppress any risk of accidental emissions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility. Ghana believes that ultimately the cessation of the military hostilities, anchored on a complete and an unconditional withdrawal of the troops of Russian Federation from the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine is the only acceptable pathway to the restoration of the peace and security of Ukraine. In this regard, we continue to strongly urge a pacifist settlement of the substantive security concerns of the parties in line with the Charter and appeal to all other actors to refrain from escalatory actions and activities that only seeks to prolong the war, perpetuate the tensions and aggravate the security concerns of the parties.
As this senseless war lingers on, civilians are bearing innumerable hardships and human lives are being lost daily. It is important for the parties to exercise restraint and halt the use of force in all areas of critical infrastructure, including the nuclear power plants and to respect their international obligations to protect human lives and to prevent a potential disaster.
Admittedly, the war in Ukraine continues to have devastating consequences beyond the battlefield. The rippling effects combined with the economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to constrain the fiscal space of many governments and led to spiraling food prices, which threatens to push millions into acute hunger and roll back development gains. The situation of developing countries appears to be dire and require urgent actions on a global scale, including debt forgiveness and restructuring to assist them navigate the
current volatile global economic environment in order to preserve their stability. It is hoped that this Council, together with the international community, could explore new support measures and appropriate responses to protect vulnerable populations in member states.
I conclude by expressing Ghana’s strong support for the peaceful resolution of this conflict sooner than later. We urge further constructive engagements by the parties at all levels in the pursuit of their security interests and the maintenance of international peace and security.
I thank you.