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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

07 October 2005

Rice Congratulates El Baradei, IAEA on Nobel Peace Prize

White House welcomes Nobel Committee's nuclear nonproliferation focus

Washington –- The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded its 2005 peace prize jointly on October 7 to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei, for efforts to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons and associated technology.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice quickly offered her congratulations October 7 to the Egyptian-born director-general and the Vienna-based international organization.  The secretary said the United States “is committed to working with the IAEA to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology.”

In acknowledging the prestigious honor, Rice cited the committee’s language in conveying the prize:  “At a time when … there is a danger that nuclear arms will spread both to states and to terrorist groups, and when nuclear power again appears to be playing an increasingly significant role, [the] IAEA’s work is of incalculable importance.”

The White House also extended its congratulations October 7, with press secretary Scott McClellan welcoming the committee’s focus on the need to halt nuclear weapons proliferation.  “The committee recognized the importance of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons,” he said, adding, “that has been a high priority for this administration, and we’ve taken steps to strengthen the agency in that regard.”

As the largest financial contributor to the IAEA, the United States strongly supports its nonproliferation efforts as well as measures taken to strengthen the IAEA, McClellan said.  Some of those steps include “efforts to have states sign the [IAEA’s] Additional Protocol [on Nuclear Safeguards] which would greatly expand their [inspectors] tools to detect clandestine nuclear activities,” he said.

Speaking during an informal gathering with White House reporters soon after the news of the award was announced, McClellan said U.S. officials are looking forward to continuing to work with ElBaradei “to meet the dangers posed by proliferation, including the threats posed by North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs.”

For additional information on U.S. policy, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

More information on the IAEA is available on the agency's Web site.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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