Jerusalem, 24 December 2001

Israel Ratifies Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

The Cabinet decided on Monday, December 24, 2001, to ratify the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM), in accordance with the proposal of Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

The CPPNM was signed in 1979 and came into force in 1987. The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency serves as CPPNM trustee.

In addition to every signatory’s obligation to secure nuclear materials under its control, the CPPNM also obligates signatories to secure these materials during international transfers. The CPPNM includes, inter alia, guiding principles on the transfer of nuclear materials with the goal of preventing theft.

Israel signed the CPPNM in 1983 but did not ratify it immediately due to legal problems. Now that these problems have been resolved, there is no hindrance to ratifying the treaty.

The CPPNM’s importance increased in the early 1990s following the break-up of the Soviet Union and the danger that nuclear materials could be smuggled out of it. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as the subsequent anthrax attacks, have further increased international awareness of the repercussions of the theft and smuggling of materials that could be used to perpetrate acts of nuclear and radiological terrorism. Today, the international community sees the CPPNM as a central tool in preventing thefts – and the illegal use – of these materials.

The ratification of the CPPNM gives expression to Israel’s recognition of its importance and serves Israel’s interest vis-a-vis preventing proliferation and the struggle against non-conventional terrorism.