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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

14 June 2005

ElBaradei To Remain Head of International Atomic Energy Agency

Swedish diplomat Eliasson elected to preside over U.N. General Assembly

By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- The 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 13, re-appointed Mohamed ElBaradei to a third, four-year term as the agency's director-general.

The appointment will be submitted for approval to the IAEA General Conference, which opens September 26 in Vienna.  ElBaradei, an Egyptian, is only the fourth IAEA director-general since the agency’s creation in 1957.

"In the next four years we have tremendous challenges.  We have major issues facing global security; we have major issues facing development," he said in prepared remarks.

ElBaradei said that the IAEA is committed to protecting the world from the spread of nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials June 9 in Washington.  After that meeting, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters the United States would support the consensus when the IAEA board met to consider ElBaradei's third appointment.

"I had a very constructive and positive meeting in Washington with Dr. Rice, with the National Security Advisor [Stephen Hadley], with the Secretary of Energy [Samuel W. Bodman] and many other people, and we looked to the future," ElBaradei said during a news conference June 13.

He said the United States made it clear that it has a policy of two terms for heads of international organizations, but he said the United States also made clear that it was ready to listen to the views of the IAEA board.

"They have said that they will join the consensus because the overwhelming majority of the board subscribe[s] to my continuation in the office," ElBaradei said.  "I am grateful for the United States, as I said I'm grateful for all other member states who have supported me."

On the issue of Iran's nuclear program, ElBaradei said the IAEA’s two-year investigation will remain open as long as necessary to answer all concerns.

"The Iran file will be closed when we close all the issues that are still open.  We are inching forward, but I'd like to have more speedy cooperation on the part of Iran," he said.

ElBaradei praised Iran for granting IAEA inspectors access to nuclear materials in the country and for suspending its uranium enrichment program, but said Iran should provide more information about its enrichment centrifuge program.

"On the extent and nature of [Iran's] centrifuge program, we still need more information," he said.  Centrifuge machines purify uranium by spinning it at supersonic speeds.

ElBaradei also said Iran should permit inspectors to visit Lavizan and Parchin, sites of suspected special weapons development, as part of the continuing investigation.

"I hope Iran will continue to be transparent to provide us the information we need," he said.  "The sooner they provide us the information we need, the sooner we will be able to clarify the outstanding issues."


Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson was elected June 13 to preside over the 60th session of the U.N. General Assembly, which is scheduled to open September 13 in New York.

Eliasson currently serves as the Swedish ambassador to the United States.  He is a former state secretary for foreign affairs of Sweden, and a former U.N. under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.  From 1988 to 1992, Eliasson was Sweden's permanent representative at the United Nations.

Eliasson said his presidency would be guided by the values and principles which are the pillars of Sweden's foreign policy: "belief in multilateral cooperation; the imperative of prevention; respect for the rule of law and human rights; solidarity with the poor and persecuted; and concern for the rights of women, for the children and for the health of planet Earth."

Representatives of the 191 nations making up the General Assembly deal with issues ranging from global security and development concerns to U.N. budgetary and administrative matters.

According to a U.N. announcement on Eliasson's election, the focus this year will be on negotiating Secretary-General Kofi Annan's reform proposals and reviewing the Millennium Development Goals designed to eradicate or reduce a host of socio-economic ills by 2015.

Eliasson succeeds Jean Ping of Gabon as U.N. General Assembly president.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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