Faces Suspension of Membership in International Atomic Energy Agency
VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ Members of the International Atomic Energy Agency are threatening to suspend South Africa because it practices apartheid and refuses to permit certain on-site inspections, an agency spokesman said today.
At the IAEA’s annual conference starting here Sept. 28 members will vote on a resolution to suspend South Africa that was adopted by the agency’s board of governors June 19, said spokesman Lothar Wedekind.
The resolution recommends suspension of South Africa’s ″rights and privileges of membership.″
While the difference may be semantic, a complete expulsion of any individual member country is not provided for under IAEA statutes, Wedekind explained.
A coalition of Communist and Third World countries in the 113-member organization is likely to muster a two-third majority of votes required for suspending a member government, an IAEA official said.
″This time it looks that they have the strength to carry it (the resolution),″ said the official, who requested anonymity.
The official reasons for the de facto removal of South Africa from the agency are the Pretoria government’s refusal to live up to U.N. anti-apartheid resolutions and its failure to put certain nuclear facilities under IAEA ″safeguards″ inspection.
South Africa has agreed to allow international inspections of its sole nuclear power plant, Koeberg, but not at is uranium enrichment plant and main nuclear research facility.
The suspension move is expected to be strongly resisted by the United States and some other Western countries on grounds that once South Africa is ousted it will be even less willing to cooperate and open its plants to international controls.
South African delegates have been absent from the agency’s annual conventions since 1979 after their credentials were first rejected in 1977, but they continued to take part in other IAEA activities.
But pressure from developing countries continued, and by 1981 South Africa was not allowed to attend the agency’s Committee On Assurance of Supply.
In 1985, the annual conference adopted a resolution that called on the agency to refrain from participating in any seminar or technical and scientific meetings held on South African soil.
Apartheid policies have segregated blacks and whites in South Africa and have deprived the nation’s 25.6 million blacks of their vote. The 5 million whites control the economy and maintain separate districts, schools and health services.