Argentina and Brazil set an example for world peace: Op-ed

Argentina and Brazil set an example for world peace: Op-ed

Patricia Beatriz SALAS & Carlos Martins CEGLIA
Argentina and Brazil set an example for world peace: Op-ed

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The region of Latin-American and the Caribbean has many outstanding examples in the field of confidence-building measures that may serve as good practices for other regions in the world.

A particularly relevant example of a tangible and efficient contribution to the non-proliferation regime, and a good practice regarding the implementation of nuclear safeguards, is the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC).

The creation of ABACC dates back to the signing of the Agreement for the Exclusively Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy between Argentina and Brazil, on July 18, 1991, in Guadalajara (Mexico).

The Agreement resulted from a process of strategic rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina that started years before, building trust from the highest political level. It foresaw the creation of a Common System of Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, and for its administration and application, it established ABACC, an entity endowed with independence, technical suitability and legal-international autonomy.

ABACC is the result of the commitments and political will assumed by both countries in the nuclear field and, likewise, its creation laid the foundations for a much broader cooperation in relations between Brazil and Argentina, transforming us into strategic partners.

In addition to being a milestone in the bilateral relationship, the creation of ABACC also had positive consequences in the broader regional sphere, paving the way for the consolidation of the Treaty of Tlatelolco and the establishment of the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In December 1991, the Quadripartite Agreement was signed between Brazil, Argentina, ABACC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This agreement constitutes, for both countries, the so called “Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement” required by the IAEA from all non-nuclear weapon states as part of the commitments assumed with treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Through the singular arrangement of the Quadripartite Agreement, nuclear installations in both our countries are submitted to inspections from both ABACC and the IAEA, in a robust model with significant levels of transparency.

The work carried out in the field of safeguards by ABACC is an innovative mechanism in terms of reciprocal inspections of nuclear facilities in both countries, in close collaboration and coordination with the IAEA.

In its 30 years of work, not only has ABACC demonstrated its robust safeguard system, but also has achieved high technical capacity. An example of this is the development of the “ABACC-Cristallini” method, an innovative technique for the collection of samples which is less intrusive, less expensive and more secure than traditional techniques.

Acting in a sensitive area such as the international regime for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and setting an example at the regional and international level through the application of safeguards, ABACC is an important diplomatic asset in our relations with the world that both countries are committed to consolidate. The negotiations and arrangements that led to the establishment of ABACC are specific to the realities of both countries and cannot be automatically transposed to situations involving other countries or contexts. However, what can be clearly observed is that with diplomatic commitment, technical acumen and a frank disposition, it is possible to overcome mutual distrust by forging a system of transparency and cooperation.

*Patricia Beatriz Salas is the ambassador of Argentina to Turkey. 

*Carlos Martins Ceglia is the ambassador of Brazil to Turkey.