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July 29, 2018

IRS holds roundtable on Argentine-Brazil nuclear race


July 29, 2018

Islamabad : Ambassador of Argentine Ivan Ivanissevich has said that nuclear competition between the two Latin American giants Argentina and Brazil was settled after a series of confidence building measures aimed at offsetting the pressure of some political sectors which were against opening up their respective nuclear programmes to inspection from the other side.

Mr Ivanissevich was speaking at a roundtable on "Avoiding a nuclear weapon race: the case of Argentina and Brazil in the 1970's until 1994" organised here by Institute of Regional Studies (IRS). Dr Rukhsana Qamber, president of IRS conducted the proceedings.

Ambassador Ivanissevich said that the process whereby Argentina and Brazil went from being competitors in the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to creating a nuclear cooperation programme and, eventually in 1991, led to creating the Argentina-Brazil Agency for Accounting and Control (ABACC) of nuclear materials, and in 1994 the Quadripartite Agreement of Inspections and Safeguards between Argentina, Brazil, ABACC and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He pointed out that the whole process was the result of a drive initially carried out at the level of Presidents and experts of the respective nuclear energy commissions who regularly met at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna ('Bottom-up' dialogue) and, at crucial circumstances, decisions undertaken by the respective Presidents of Argentina and Brazil, the visit of General Figueredo to Buenos Aires in 1980 and the meeting between Presidents Alfonsin of Argentina and Sarney in Iguazú of Brazil in 1985.

He underscored the relevance of the prior solution of the issue of the Itaipú (Brazil) and Corpus (Argentina) dams on the river Rarana in 1977, prior to the signature of the first cooperation agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy of 1980.

He concluded by saying that the nuclear cooperation programme was a forerunner of what eventually became the MERCOSUR Common Market, first as an agreement between Argentina and Brazil, which was immediately joined by Uruguay and Paraguay and later on by many other South American countries.

A very lively exchange of questions and answers followed the presentation of the Ambassador and participants tried to explore possibilities of applying the Latin American model in South Asia.

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