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10 Sep 23. Sweden’s NATO accession and Turkey’s bid to buy F-16 jets should be kept separate, Erdogan says. U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is linking F-16 fighter jet sales to Turkey with Turkish ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership bid, and this “seriously upsets” Ankara, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference after a G20 summit in the Indian capital New Delhi, Erdogan said he had a “pull-aside” meeting with Biden on the sidelines of the gathering and they discussed the transfer of F-16s to Turkey.
Biden made a connection between the supply of F-16s and Turkish action in ratifying Sweden’s application to join NATO, Erdogan said. “This approach seriously upsets us,” he said.
Turkey, which had been the main stumbling block in Sweden’s path towards NATO, asked in October 2021 to buy $20 bn worth of Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N) F-16s and nearly 80 modernisation kits for its existing warplanes.
After months of objections, Erdogan agreed at a NATO summit in July to forward Sweden’s NATO bid to the Turkish parliament for ratification.
A day later, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington would proceed with the transfer of F-16s to Turkey in consultation with Congress.
However, the timing of both the F-16 transaction and the Turkish parliament’s green light for Sweden remains unclear.
“If you say that Congress will decide (on sales of F-16s to Turkey), then we have a Congress in Turkey as well – it is the Turkish parliament,” Erdogan told reporters. “It is not possible for me to say ‘yes’ (to Sweden’s NATO membership bid) alone unless such a decision is approved by (our) parliament.”
Ankara has accused Sweden of harbouring militants hostile to the Turkish state, mainly members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and United States.
Erdogan also said Sweden should “keep its promises” and take more steps – which would include extraditing alleged PKK militants and preventing pro-PKK rallies in Sweden – before Turkey clears its NATO bid.
To address Turkish concerns, Stockholm passed legislation in June outlawing being a member of a terrorist group or providing logistical and financial help to proscribed groups.
Stockholm recently voiced hope that Turkish lawmakers would ratify its NATO bid when they reconvene in October, as agreed at the NATO summit in July.
Sweden and Finland applied last year to enter NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine. While Finnish membership was sealed in April, Sweden’s bid remains held up by Turkey and Hungary.
Turkish Foreign Minister has said Ankara and Budapest are working in close coordination on the issue. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)
14 Sep 23. Romania: Airspace restrictions reflect growing spillover risk from Russian strikes on Ukraine’s Danube ports. On 14 September, the Romanian Ministry of National Defence (MoND) banned piloted and unmanned aircraft from flying within 12-19 miles (20-30km) of the border with Ukraine (depending on the configuration of the border) at an altitude of less than 4,000 metres. The additional restrictions come after debris from suspected Russian drones was discovered on Romanian territory on three separate occasions, amid intense Russian attacks on Ukraine’s Izmail port on the Danube River, approximately 400 metres from Romania’s Danube shore. The additional restrictions announced by Bucharest underline the growing risk of conflict spillover on Black Sea littoral states since Moscow effectively re-militarised parts of the Black Sea by withdrawing from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. While Russia’s strike campaign against Ukraine’s Danube ports indicates an increased risk appetite (striking targets close to NATO territory) we continue to assess that Moscow has no interest in deliberately undertaking actions that could lead to the triggering of the alliance’s Article 5 on collective defence. (Source: Sibylline)
14 Sep 23. Serbia-Kosovo: Political deadlock likely to persist; near-term escalation risk has decreased. On 14 September, the latest round of EU-mediated normalisation talks between Serbia and Kosovo ended without a resolution. However, engagement in negotiations by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovan Prime Minister Alban Kurti marks a notable improvement in conditions since the heightened diplomatic tensions around the April 2023 mayoral elections in North Kosovo. Since 2013, Brussels has proposed giving the Serb majority in North Kosovo a level of autonomy as a solution to address local tensions. Kurti, however, is unwilling to agree until Vucic acknowledges Kosovo’s independence, a position which has increased Western pressure on Kosovo to reduce tensions, including imposing some sanctions. Although normalisation is unlikely in the short-to-medium term, escalation is also currently unlikely as political deadlock continues to characterise efforts to improve relations between the two sides. Nevertheless, the high level of underlying tension in North Kosovo drives a latent risk of sporadic outbreaks of domestic unrest at short notice.
14 Sep 23. Germany: Government veto on takeover of satellite company underscores firmer approach to China. On 13 September, the federal government banned the takeover of a German satellite startup KLEO Connect by the Chinese operator Shanghai Spacecom Satellite Technology (SSST). The Chinese company already owns 53% of the satellite firm but wanted to acquire a further 45% from German company EightyLeo. This move comes amid a recent discussion surrounding the use of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network in the context of the war in Ukraine, highlighting the space sector’s increasing strategic significance. Berlin is increasingly taking a more hawkish stance on Chinese investment in the country; its new China Strategy recognised the security challenges posed by the Chinese government. Despite the potential economic consequences of reducing dependencies on China in the short term, these measures are likely to enhance domestic security and reduce the risk of intellectual property (IP) theft, especially within the technology and energy sector.
13 Sep 23. Austria: Concerns over Russian ties ahead of elections point to possible reputation, compliance risks. On 12 September, Austria’s former intelligence chief, Peter Grindling, issued a warning over the Austrian Freedom Party’s (FPÖ) ties with Russia. Grindling stated that the party has masked but not severed ties with Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Due partly to Austria’s longstanding (military) neutrality, Russian ties to Austria’s politics, economy and intelligence services are more extensive than in other EU states. The FPÖ lost much of its popularity due to its involvement in the 2019 corruption scandal that forced the then government to resign (‘Ibiza gate’). However, the party has since regained support and has led the Austrian polls for almost a year. If the FPÖ enters, or leads, a coalition, the Austrian government would almost certainly be more susceptible to Russian influence. This would likely trigger tensions with the EU and elevate compliance and reputation risks for businesses operating in both Austrian and EU jurisdictions. (Source: Sibylline)
12 Sep 23. Poland: Unilateral ban on Ukrainian grain imports will drive tensions within the EU, risk of fines. On 12 September, Agriculture Minister Robert Telus confirmed that the government will approve a unilateral ban on Ukraine grain imports should the EU decline to extend the ban itself. EU restrictions currently in effect are set to expire on 15 September. While Bulgaria and Romania have toned down their position against the extension of the EU’s grain ban, sustained opposition has been voiced by Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. With Polish elections on 15 October, Warsaw has been particularly keen to protest the EU’s legislation given that farmers are an important constituency for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Further details regarding the EU’s position on the ban will be discussed on 12 September. Unilateral measures by the Polish government will almost certainly drive tensions between EU member states, including France and Germany, who oppose such protectionist measures. There remains a moderate risk that the EU will impose fines on Warsaw if such restrictions violate the bloc’s trade policy. (Source: Sibylline)
12 Sep 23. Bosnia: Serb secessionist leader charged with indictment; protest risks, local tensions remain high. On 11 September, the highest judicial body in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) confirmed the indictment of Milorad Dodik, the leader of Republika Sprska (RS), the Serb entity of BiH. The indictment concerns Dodik’s decision (taken on 7 July) to legally nullify decisions by the UN High Representative Christian Schmidt. Dodik claims that Schmidt has no legal standing as China and Russia opposed his nomination in the UN Security Council. Although Dodik has espoused divisive, pro-Putin and secessionist rhetoric since his emergence as a political figure after the Bosnian war, he has never faced an indictment before. After rumours of the indictment had spread in early September, peaceful protests including the use of Russian flags were held around the symbolic administrative border between RS and the rest of BiH. Now that the indictment is confirmed, renewed protests are likely to occur. These are likely to remain peaceful, though escalations remain possible if Dodik stokes unrest with inflammatory rhetoric. (Source: Sibylline)
11 Sep 23. UK-China: Espionage-related arrests will drive bilateral tensions. On 10 September, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak voiced concerns to Chinese Premier Li Qiang regarding Beijing’s alleged interference in the country’s parliamentary democracy. The exchange occurred during the G20 summit in New Delhi (India); it follows the arrests of two individuals by UK authorities under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) over espionage-related offences. In July, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, responsible for oversight of the UK Intelligence Community (IC), highlighted the failure of the UK government to develop an effective strategy for dealing with national security threats from China, including ‘increasingly sophisticated’ espionage operations. Similar allegations pertaining to Chinese espionage-related offences will increase the likelihood of a more hardline approach from the UK government; this approach would possibly target sensitive technologies with ‘dual-use’ potential and would also drive policy and regulatory risks across a range of sectors (particularly if restrictions to outward direct investment impact the country’s microchip sector). (Source: Sibylline)
15 Sep 23. USS Florida Arrives in Tromsø. The Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) arrived in Tromsø, Norway for a regularly scheduled visit September 14, 2023. While in Tromsø, USS Florida will host distinguished visitors for a tour, further strengthening the U.S. and Norwegian partnership. This marks the first visit made by a SSGN submarine to Norway.
“We are grateful to Norway for allowing USS Florida to conduct a port visit to Tromsø. Stops like these ensure that the submarine and her crew are able to continue their mission of promoting security and stability in the region,” said Rear Adm. Stephen Mack, director of Maritime Operations, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa. “We are excited to welcome distinguished visitors aboard while in Tromsø, as a visible demonstration of the strength of the U.S.-Norway partnership, and we look forward to continuing to operate with our long-standing NATO Ally as we work together towards our shared goals.”
Prior to Tromsø, Florida conducted a regularly scheduled visit to Naples, Italy in August 2023.
While in port, Florida’s crew will have the opportunity to experience the rich culture of Tromsø, and build relationships with the local population.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/USN)
15 Sep 23. UK Defence Inventory Management. Delivery to the frontline is still being put at risk by longstanding weaknesses in inventory management, despite the Ministry of Defence (MoD) taking steps to improve, according to a new National Audit Office (NAO) report.
In its latest report – Defence Inventory Management – the NAO found that, in response to increasing global instability including the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, the MoD has changed its strategic objectives for inventory management to balance cost reduction alongside effectiveness and resilience. However, historical issues1 such as aging IT systems and disposal management remain. Overall, the NAO concludes that the MoD’s approach is not yet set up to provide value for money.
The MoD manages an £11.8bn portfolio of inventory, which includes guided weapons; missiles and bombs; capital spares, such as spare parts for vehicles; and raw materials and consumables, such as boots. The MoD spent £1.5bn buying inventory in 2022-23, and currently has a stock of 640,000 types of inventory and more than 740 m individual items.
However, the MoD’s inventory management is dispersed amongst many different organisations, with different policies and ways of working. This creates a complex landscape with inefficient working practices and makes it challenging for the MoD to achieve its strategic objectives. The MoD set up the Defence Support in 2019 to establish common standards across the MoD, but challenges remain in doing so, as it cannot direct other defence organisations and must instead rely on influencing to achieve its aims.
The MoD has been slow to upgrade its legacy IT estate – including two 40-year-old core inventory systems – and its inventory data have limitations that undermine its ability to make effective decisions.
The MoD is currently rolling out a series of transformation programmes to overcome its weaknesses across its Support activities, including inventory management. This includes a £2.5bn pan-defence transformation programme, which will update its legacy IT systems and implement standardised processes across the MoD. However, the MoD’s ability to refine and deliver this programme faces risks because it does not currently have in place all the staff it needs for the programme.
Under-resourcing was cited by MoD staff as creating challenges to better inventory management, which were exacerbated by inefficient working practices and IT systems. The MoD does not have a comprehensive understanding of the Support workforce in terms of the roles it requires and where it has gaps. Without this, the MoD cannot understand what risks it currently holds in its staffing of the Support function.
The MoD has worked to reduce over-purchasing.4 Previously, the Department encouraged over-purchasing, with the Armed Forces only charged for commodities when they were used, and not when they were purchased. Since the NAO’s last report in 2012, the MoD has implemented a new financial framework which sees payment on purchase. 3 Some challenges remain: the MoD told the NAO there is a risk that its financial framework does not incentivise keeping its war reserve commodities up to date, as it does not provide financial cover where these items expire.
The MoD does not consistently dispose of inventory that it no longer requires, and this has resulted in large build-ups of excess and obsolete stock in warehouses. At present, more than 105,500m³ of items stored in central warehouses are not currently fit for use. The MoD has set up three projects to identify and dispose of its surplus inventory, but only one has become part of its business as usual approach.
The MoD outsourced aspects of its inventory management, which led to improvements, including rationalising and modernising parts of its estate and organisation. However, the MoD did not factor in specific medical needs in its Logistics and Commodities Services Transformation contract. This has led to the Armed Forces facing issues such as a lack of availability of medical items, resulting in a need to source missing items from elsewhere. In some instances, units have carried increased operational risk because they have had to proceed without the capability to test for and treat certain medical conditions.
In 2019 the MoD and Team Leidos began implementing improvement initiatives, but these did not deliver sufficient change to fully address these issues. In June 2023, the MoD approved a proposal from its contractor – Team Leidos – to specifically address medical support and increase the number of its staff with medical expertise in 2024.
Among its recommendations, the NAO urges the MoD to define the levels of inventory needed to support its new strategic aims, and to develop an understanding of what arrangements are needed to support these and the barriers to achieving them.
In addition, it calls on the MoD to identify and prioritise the resources it needs to ensure its transformation programmes can be implemented successfully to deliver the available financial and operational benefits.
“It is vitally important that the UK armed forces have the inventory they need, amid growing global instability and given the plans for an increased deployed presence set out in the Government’s Integrated Review,” said Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO.
“The Ministry of Defence has taken steps to improve its inventory management, and these have resulted in improvements in logistics and commodity procurement and reductions in over-purchasing. However, long-standing weaknesses with its inventory management remain, primarily from legacy IT systems.
“The MoD must ensure it prioritises the resources it needs for its transformation programmes, otherwise its ability to build resilience and deploy the people and equipment it needs in the right places will be frustrated.” (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/UK NAO)
17 Sep 23. Former Armed Forces personnel training foreign militaries could be prosecuted under National Security Act. Under the National Security Act, former RAF, Royal Navy and Army pilots training foreign militaries may be prosecuted for sharing military tactics
Former UK Armed Forces personnel who train foreign militaries around the world can be prosecuted under new offences within the National Security Act. It comes after the Ministry of Defence issued a security alert last year, revealing that a number of former Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Army pilots had been training the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force, having being contracted through a private South African company and attracted by high salaries.
Specifically, the new Act includes the section 1 offence of ‘obtaining or disclosing protected information’ and defines ‘information’ to include tactics, techniques and procedures.
This means that pilots risk being prosecuted for sharing such sensitive information with foreign powers. Once the powers come into force, the Ministry of Defence can pass relevant information to police forces, who can investigate offences under the Act.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Anyone found to be acting against the UK’s interests by training our competitors’ militaries can now expect to be pursued and brought to justice. The government has acted decisively following the identification of this threat, and has made rapid changes to legislation to help shut it down.”
Since the security alert, the Ministry of Defence believes that publicity the practice received has been successful in encouraging these pilots to reconsider their activity, and in discouraging other personnel from taking part.
At the time of the alert, the MOD recognised that further measures were needed in order to disrupt the activity. One such critical measure was including this activity within the National Security Act, to allow criminal charges to be pressed.
As well as legislating against the activity, the UK has also been working closely with our allies, some of whom are also seeing similar activity with their former military personnel, to help highlight and tackle this internationally.
Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said: “We face growing threats from foreign states. In recent years we’ve seen attempts to harm our people, damage our economy and undermine our democracy. We’ve also seen attempts from countries such as China to solicit national secrets from former Armed Forces personnel. This new Act provides our world class law enforcement and intelligence agencies with new and updated tools to tackle security challenges such as these – and hold those responsible to account.
The National Security Act became law in July this year and has brought together new measures to modernise counter-espionage laws and address evolving threats to our national security.”
With this new legislation, the UK is now a harder target for those states who seek to conduct hostile acts against the UK, which include espionage, foreign interference (including in our political system), sabotage, and acts that endanger life, such as assassination. It provides law enforcement and intelligence agencies with new and updated tools to deter, detect and disrupt modern-day state threats.
The recently published Defence Command Paper 2023 and the Integrated Review Refresh 2023 sets out the UK’s approach to China as an enduring and epoch-defining challenge to British interests through its increasingly assertive and coercive behaviour. The documents say how the government will respond by increasing protections to national security, deepen cooperation with partners and increase engagement with China.
Military personnel who have any concerns or are aware of suspicious activity are encouraged to call the MoD confidential crime line.
15 Sep 23. US approves $389m Poland F-16 fighter support deal. Poland is investing in its air capabilities and is working to modernise its 48-strong F-16 fleet, while also buying new F-35 stealth fighters.
The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Poland of F-16 fighter aircraft sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $389m, which includes electronic warfare (EW) database reprogramming support. The Polish request to buy additional non-major defence equipment (MDE) articles and services will be added to a previously implemented FMS case, those value, at $82m, was under the congressional notification threshold.
According to a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) statement on 13 September, the updated notification is for the combined non-MDE sustainment articles and services, which includes EW support, classified and unclassified software delivery and support, among other equipment.
The DSCA stated that the principal contractor will be US defence prime Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the F-16 fighter, with the proposed sale helping to “improve Poland’s ability to meet current and future threats by increasing the reliability of [sic] their F-16 fleet”.
Poland’s fighter fleet: a complex mix
According to GlobalData’s analysis of Poland’s equipment inventory, the country has embarked on a significant defence modernisation programme across the land, sea, and air domains. In the air, this has entailed the acquisition of new rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, while overall defence spending from 2042-2028 is predicted to total $138.5bn, (601bn zlotys) at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8%.
The biggest single year-on-year increase came from 2022-2023, where spending increased by $7.2bn, or 55.7%.
Poland has 48 F-16 fighters in its inventory (36 F-16C Block 52 and 12 F-16D Block 52), although their fate was uncertain amid suggestions that it could be seeking to donate them to Ukraine in exchange for new build Block 70 aircraft, or modernised legacy platforms from US inventories. This recent announcement, along with the indication that Denmark and the Netherlands will be the countries providing F-16 to Ukraine, indicate that the Polish F-16 will remain in service for some time to come.
Poland is also a manufacturing hub of the new Block 70/72 F-16 fighters through Lockheed Martin’s subsidiary PZL Mielec, with the production of the first rear fuselage structure completed earlier this month.
In April this year manufacture of Poland’s order of 32 F-35A fifth-generation stealth fighters got underway, which will be delivered from 2024, and expected to conclude in 2030. The fighters will be equipped to Technology Refresh 3 and Block 4 level. Poland also operates 25 MiG-29A and seven MiG-29-UB aircraft, acquired from Russia between 2003-04. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
15 Sep 23. A military-industrial partnership must share financial risk.
The UK government cannot afford to invest in everything, so emerging start-ups must learn to share the financial risk as well as benefits.
At the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) 2023 exhibition at London’s ExCel centre, ideas were flowing as a Naval Forum panel convened to discuss how small-to-medium size enterprises (SMEs) can access the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) innovation and industrial base.
Through discussion with the Royal Navy, Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA), Future Capability Group (FCG) and representatives from innovative industry segments the panel examined how government can harness SMEs to aid defence and how defence can better work with industry.
Traditionally, interaction between start-ups and defence procurement is absent, even at the best of times. However, programmes such as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Spearhead aims to disrupt this procurement status quo as the MoD searches for innovative technologies that provide subsea surveillance.
The British military and their suppliers debate how far either side must risk spending on demonstrating a prospective concept before the MoD takes the plunge in securing a contract.
While the military is rightly cautious of companies “over-promising” the capabilities they have to offer, as the SDA Autonomy Unit Team Leader Mark Hyde suggested, SMEs are equally concerned about getting their foot in the door as they are often forced to lean on recognised defence primes – a process that curtails government investment in innovation.
SMEs must undergo a tense stand-off to sell their ideas to a government that is itself in the process of shaping an effective procurement process.
As the panelists agreed, this has forced the government to interact with the defence industry in a way that makes their requirements setting abundantly clear to emerging companies and “shows where [they] should invest [their] efforts,” as Hyde reiterated.
While the government tries to encourage innovative solutions from start-ups, the companies “have to share the risk with the military,” Brett Phaneuff, the Managing Director of MSubs, asserted.
Defining the military-industrial partnership today
As the Integrated Review Refresh indicated in March this year, geopolitical events are “threatening to create a world defined by danger, disorder and division – and an international order more favourable to authoritarianism.”
The panel agreed that the primary task of the MoD is the defence of the UK amid this deteriorating context. For that reason, Phaneuff explained that SMEs must expect a policy of “fundamental risk sharing” when it comes to pitching provable concepts to the Royal Navy that can be seen to work “in the water.”
The key takeaway? SMEs must not deliberate over the amount they can spend on prototyping their innovative solutions, but instead commit to demonstrating a viable concept that can be seen to work in the moment, in the water, and integrate across defence.
At least that is what the panel seem to agree will allow the military to successfully harness innovative solutions. (Source: army-technology.com)
15 Sep 23. ADS Defence Outlook 2023. The importance of the UK defence sector continues to grow as global threats and volatility increases.
The defence sector directly employs 147,500 people in the UK, delivering high value jobs for a highly skilled workforce, including 6,900 apprentices. Turnover for the sector reached £22.8bn in 2022.
The UK remains the second largest defence exporter globally, and the largest defence exporter in Europe, exporting £7.4bn worth of products on a three-year average. In addition, value add to the UK economy reached £9.8bn.
As we look ahead to the future, there are plenty of business opportunities for UK organisations ranging from developing the latest technologies and capabilities used in the Global Combat Air Programme, and AUKUS or the stockpiling and strengthening of UK supply chains while learning lessons from the war in Ukraine.
A strong partnership between industry and Government ensures defence and national security remains a priority. This is reflected in recent refreshed strategies including the Integrated Review Refresh and the Defence Command Paper Refresh as well as strategies aimed at contributing to the UK’s net zero ambition through the Defence Aviation Net Zero Strategy. (Source: ADS)
15 Sep 23. AUKUS Partners update the IAEA Board on naval nuclear propulsion. The United Kingdom, Australia and the United States updated the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors on AUKUS naval nuclear propulsion. The below statement was delivered by Australia on 14 September 2023 under agenda item 12: Any Other Business.
Thank you, Chair.
I have the honour of speaking on behalf of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
We thank Director General Grossi for his update in his written introductory statement to this Board on Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion program. As the Director General noted, bilateral technical consultations between the IAEA and Australia on Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion program are ongoing, including in relation to the development of an Article 14 arrangement. We remain fully committed to ensuring our approach meets the highest non-proliferation standard.
Colleagues will recall that, at the previous meeting of the Board, the Director General reported (in GOV/INF/2023/10) that Australia had submitted the required declarations under its CSA, AP, and Subsidiary Arrangements; the IAEA had conducted in-field verification activities, including a design information verification visit; and discussions on the technical aspects of an arrangement pursuant to Article 14 of Australia’s CSA had been initiated.
The Director General has confirmed the IAEA will develop a robust safeguards approach for Australia’s naval nuclear propulsion program which will enable the Agency to continue to meet its technical safeguards objectives established for Australia.
Since the June Board meeting, Australia’s bilateral technical consultations with the IAEA have continued. These discussions encompass technical and legal aspects of an Article 14 arrangement for Australia, including in relation to possible verification and monitoring activities and voluntary transparency measures.
As has been confirmed by the Director General, these ongoing bilateral consultations are taking place on the basis that Australia’s Article 14 arrangement will not remove nuclear material from IAEA oversight.
Throughout the lifecycle of Australia’s program, the Agency will be able to continue to verify and conclude that there has been no diversion of declared nuclear material, no misuse of facilities, and no undeclared nuclear material or activities.
We wish to make clear that, contrary to what some delegations have suggested, we do not seek to impose a template or model Article 14 arrangement. When developing an Article 14 arrangement for Australia or another state, the Agency will need to account for state-specific factors.
The Director General has committed to transmitting the Article 14 arrangement, once developed, to the Board for appropriate action. As we have said previously, we fully support this approach.
AUKUS partners have already addressed during this Board meeting some of the more egregious disinformation we have heard from other delegations, and I do not intend to go over that again.
In line with our abiding commitment to transparency, however, we welcome the opportunity to update the Board and, as appropriate, we will continue to address genuine questions from interested delegations regarding our non-proliferation approach through this and other fora.
Thank you, Chair. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
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