VARIOUS: U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head Mohamed ElBaradei, have won the Nobel Peace Prize
- Title: VARIOUS: U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head Mohamed ElBaradei, have won the Nobel Peace Prize
- Date: 8th October 2005
- Summary: (W3) BERNE, SWITZERLAND (OCTOBER 7, 2005) (REUTERS) UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN ENTERING NEWS CONFERENCE; MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN, SAYING: "Let me say that I am delighted that the prize was given to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its director-general Mr Mohammed ElBaradei. I think it's a message for all of us, that we should take the issue of non-proliferation and disarmament very, very seriously."
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- Topics: International Relations,Energy
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- Story Text: The U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head Mohamed ElBaradei, who clashed with Washington over Iraq, won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday (October 7, 2005) for fighting the spread of nuclear weapons.
The Nobel Committee praised the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and ElBaradei, a 63-year-old Egyptian, for their battle to stop states and terrorists acquiring the atom bomb, and to ensure safe civilian use of nuclear energy.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the 2001 peace laureate, said the prize sent a very strong message regarding non-proliferation and disarmament.
"Let me say that I am delighted that the prize was given to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its director-general Mr Mohammed ElBaradei. I think it's a message for all of us, that we should take the issue of non-proliferation and disarmament very, very seriously." He also added that the prize should be a wake-up call to the perils of nuclear war, referring to last month's UN summit as a 'disgrace' because no agreement could be reached on non-proliferation and disarmament.
In Cairo Elbaradei's family proudly watched the news of the Nobel Prize awards.
"He (Baradei) is very honest in his work, the most important about him is that when he do things, he do it the right and honest way, all Egypt and I are proud of him", said Dr. Elbaradei's mother Aida Hijazi.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department congratulated ElBaradei and the organisation he heads. "First let me say that Secretary Rice called Dr. Muhamed ElBaradei this morning to congratulate him, and to congratulate the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to both the organisation and to Dr. ElBaradei personally. They had a very good talk and I think we'll be putting out a statement in just a couple of moments that will reflect how pleased we are to see this honour bestowed on Dr. ElBaradei and the IAEA," said Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns.
ElBaradei came to prominence before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 by challenging Washington's argument that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were found after the overthrow of Saddam. A programme discovered in the early 1990s appeared to have been abandoned as Iraq had said. More recently, ElBaradei has faced criticism from both the United States and Iran in his efforts to investigate Tehran's nuclear programme and Washington had opposed his reappointment to a new term.
Some commentators saw the award as a veiled criticism of the Bush administration, but State Department spokesman Sean McCormack interpreted it as a warning to countries pursuing illicit nuclear weapons.
"What I take away from it is that they wanted to honour the work of Dr. ElBaradei and the IAEA at this important moment in history at which we are confronted with several cases of countries pursuing illicit nuclear weapons programmes. And what I think it says, is that the world is watching. I think that this is a message to Iran and other countries that would pursue nuclear weapons programmes under the guise of trying to obtain civilian nuclear power. So I think it is a message to them, it is a message that the world is watching closely, and that the world stands united in working together to stop the spread of nuclear weapons," McCormack told a State Department briefing. But not everyone agreed with the choice of the Nobel committee.
Greenpeace said it was "shocked" about the award of the nobel peace prize to IAEA director general Mohamed el nuclear promoter and policeman.
Speaking in Brussels on Friday (October 7) the organisation's international campaigner Jan vande Putte said the IAEA controls the dissemination of nuclear arms whilst at the same time also controlling the dissemination of nuclear technologies - a contradiction for Greenpeace. "We are really shocked because the atomic agency has been responsible for over 50 years to promote the spread of nuclear technology and this is the cause of the spread of nuclear weapons. Every country with a nuclear reactor has enough plutonium every year to produce about 30 nuclear weapons. So there is a direct link between nuclear power and nuclear bombs and the atomic agency are promoting nuclear power," Vande Putte said.
He added that the only way to promote peace and achieve a nuclear-safe world was to phase out nuclear power altogether citing the European countries which are on the way to substituting their nuclear energy needs.
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