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New Australian Safeguards And Non-Proliferation Office

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Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND
TRADE
AUSTRALIA

D68

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has today
announced the establishment of the Australian Safeguards and
Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) to play a central role in
Australia's efforts to promote a more secure world
environment.

Australia has had a strong commitment to
non-proliferation and disarmament with respect to nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons, the weapons of mass
destruction. Recent actions by Australia internationally
include the initiation of a series of diplomatic measures to
strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, ratification
of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and
active support for commencement in the Conference on
Disarmament of negotiations on a "cut-off" treaty to ban the
production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

ASNO's principal objective is to enhance Australian and
international security through activities which contribute
to effective regimes against the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction. ASNO will combine the functions of the
Australian Safeguards Office (ASO), the Chemical Weapons
Convention Office (CWCO), and the Australian Comprehensive
Test Ban Office (ACTBO) established following ratification
of the CTBT. ASNO will also assume responsibility for
implementation aspects of the Biological Weapons Convention
protocol currently being negotiated in Geneva.

The focus of ASNO will be verification of treaty
commitments. ASNO will contribute to the development and
operation of effective international verification mechanisms
designed to promote transparency and provide assurance that
non-proliferation obligations are being observed.

Within ASNO, ASO will continue its work with nuclear
safeguards to verify that peaceful use commitments for
nuclear material and items are being honoured. An important
part of ASO's work is ensuring that Australia's uranium
exports remain in exclusively peaceful use, in accordance
with Australia's bilateral safeguards agreements.

CWCO will continue to work with verification arrangements
on the production and use of specified toxic chemicals and
their precursors, while ACTBO is set to implement the CTBT
in Australia including the establishment of significant
elements of the international system to detect any nuclear
testing. The close parallels between the nuclear
non-proliferation regimes and the chemical weapons
prohibition regime will enable the most effective use to be
made of available technical expertise and administrative
resources, and promote cross-fertilisation of ideas between
individual regimes, thereby further enhancing Australian
interests.

ASNO will be headed by a Director-General, Mr John
Carlson, who has held the statutory position of Director of
Safeguards since 1989, and also the position of Director
CWCO since 1995.

Media Inquiries:

Tony Melville/Kirk Coningham (02) 6261 1555

Last Updated: 19 September 2014
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