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April 16, 1979

Stenographic Notes of the Session of the Current Affairs Subcommittee of the SIV Nuclear Energy Commission [Excerpt]

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)


Point 9 – Information on the meeting of the Mixed Yugoslav-Iraqi Committee for Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation, held in Baghdad between January 31 and February 4, 1979, with a particular focus on possibilities for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy with the Iraqi Nuclear Research Center.[1] 

PAVIĆEVIĆ: Besides this Information, Reljić’s Notes about the meeting of the Mixed Yugoslav-Iraqi Committee and conversations held in the Nuclear Research Center, I think that the second is particularly interesting to us, the note that speaks about conversations in the Center, where the Iraqi side expressed its wish and interest for one group of our experts to visit Iraq with an aim to exchange opinions about the establishment of cooperation. Considering our very developed relations in general, in the economic field and continuous emphasis in mixed committees on the need for further expansion of cooperation with Iraq, this initiative of the Iraqi side should be accepted by this Sub-Committee in order to come to these initial steps in identifying possible fields of cooperation by supporting their idea to have one group of our experts visit [them]. Of course, it would be most expedient if the composition of this group [of experts] would go through the Federal Institute for International, Educational, Cultural and Technical Cooperation [Savezni zavod za međunarodnu, prosvetno-kulturnu i tehničku saradnju - JUZAMS][2] and the SSIP [Savezni sekretarijat za inostrane poslove – Federal Secretariat for Foreign Affairs] who could determine the date(s). 

In other words, we should support this Iraqi initiative, and after the return of the group and identified needs of the Iraqi side, as well as of our capacities, see if we should put it in the adequate agreement, as we do it with others. 

BAGI: Do we have enough strength to cooperate with everybody? I think there are so many initiatives, and the [actual] work is fading almost everywhere. Let us focus on some activities and persevere in that cooperation instead of having so many initiatives, while the cooperation on a particular level that could contribute to the development of a given technology in the country, we do not see sufficiently. And there are many initiatives. 

STOJAN MATKALIEV: You [BAGI] have raised the question adequately, but in the wrong place, in my opinion, because with Iraq, we have an interest, and I think to suggest a conclusion, if you all agree, that JUZAMS should make for the next session of the Sub-Committee a proposal for the composition of the delegation which will go [to Iraq], taking into consideration interests that appeared in this Iraqi material in order to make the adequate composition of the delegation so it could possibly explore possibilities for cooperation. I am not sure if comrades from the YUZAMS agree with me. 

VESELINOVIĆ: I think you should all take with some reservation what I am about to say, that is, I did not consult Comrade Reljić on this before my departure in order to be able to provide an adequate answer to this proposal, but if you allow me, I think that the Federal Institute [for International, Educational, Cultural and Technical Cooperation] can accept this and that we agree. 

MATKALIEV: Can we pursue that route? What do other comrades think? To receive the composition of the delegation that would go [to Iraq] for the next session, with consideration to interests expressed by Iraq. 


RADOJKOVIĆ: I must ask that, in relation to Iraq, we consider the French offer to JUMEL[3] for cooperation on nuclear power plants in Iraq, so when the YUZAMS proposal is being drafted, we can be in touch. 



[1] The facility in question is most likely the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center, close to Baghdad, although the information available in this document are a bit fuzzy, mostly related to inaccuracies in original document and/or translation made by the Yugoslav officials. 

[2] Sometimes can be found as YUZAMS, including in this source. 

[3]Jugoslovensko udruženje mašinogradnje i elektromašinogradnje – JUMEL [Yugoslav Association of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering], was a business association of Yugoslav companies which was supposed to develop and construct components for nuclear power plants. 

This excerpt is a part of the lengthy document from the Yugoslav Nuclear Energy Commission meeting held on April 16, 1979. The discussion included cooperation with different countries in the development of peaceful nuclear technology, exploration of options to acquire and sell uranium (yellowcake) on the global market without any restrictions, and joint programs in developing or exporting nuclear technology (Romania, Indonesia, and Iraq). 

The focus here is on investigating the possibility of constructing a nuclear reactor in Iraq in cooperation with France. The details are fuzzy, although it is undoubtedly the Osiraq nuclear reactor. Important for understanding the context is the fact that Yugoslavia and Iraq had already established lucrative barter arrangements on the principle “armaments for oil.” More importantly, the general undertone throughout this and other meetings of the Commission in a previous couple of years is the attempt of the Yugoslavs to find loopholes in the existing safeguards and other restrictions related to selling sensitive nuclear technology to other countries based on a belief that the NPT did not function and that the ‘nuclear haves’ were once again trying to reestablish much stricter monopoly on nuclear technology than before. 


Document Information


Arhiv Jugoslavije (AJ), f. 4229, 130. Contributed and translated by Marko Miljković.

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