ElBaradei optimistic about nuclear situation
ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency is the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize


Posted Saturday, December 10, 2005

  
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Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, said the prize has renewed his optimism, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported on Friday.

ElBaradei said he was happy to be in Oslo after landing Thursday at the main airport at Gardermoen. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize, he said, has boosted the IAEA's visibility, authority and credibility worldwide.

"It's helped a lot in these times, and I hope the prize will help us in the months to come," he said. The prize was awarded in two equal parts to the IAEA and ElBaradei.

The agency, which seeks to control the spread of atomic weapons while championing peaceful uses of nuclear energy, is especially worried about the risk of atomic weapons getting into the hands of terrorists. ElBaradei told NRK that the unpredictability of terrorist activity makes nuclear proliferation more dangerous now than it was during the Cold War.

He also noted that the development of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, especially Iran, and the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the biggest area of concern. He said he hoped Iran will be more open with the IAEA's inspectors, and enter negotiations again with the European officials.

Despite his constant worries, ElBaradei said he thinks the situation is better now than it was a year ago, with regards to the DPRK. He said negotiations with that country are going in the right direction.

ElBaradei, like all Nobel Peace Prize winners, is staying at Oslo's venerable Grand Hotel, which also will be the site of a gala banquet Saturday evening. That will come after the prize is formally awarded in a traditional ceremony in Oslo's City Hall, an event attended by Norway's royal family, government leaders and a host of dignitaries.

Peace Prize festivities include a special concert to be held Sunday evening in honor of the prize winner at the Oslo Spektrum arena.


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