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Mohamed Elbaradei says Nobel Prize boosts IAEA's resolve on hard road ahead

New York, 07 Oktober 2005

United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei today said receiving the Nobel Peace Prize along with his agency "strengthens our resolve at a time when we have a hard road ahead of us" in leading the global struggle against nuclear proliferation.

"With this recognition, the Norwegian Nobel Committee underscores the value and the relevance of the work we have been doing," he told international journalists at the agency's headquarters in Vienna on learning that he would share the prestigious award with the IAEA.

The Nobel Prize will lend "prominence and impetus" to the IAEA's work, and sends a "strong message to keep doing what you are doing, be impartial, act with integrity," he said.

Voicing his "gratitude, pride and hope," the agency chief commended the dedication and service of the IAEA and its staff.

"It is humbling to receive such an extraordinary honour. I share it with great pride with all the men and women who serve at the International Atomic Energy Agency. This is a tremendous recognition of their untiring efforts in the service of peace," he added.

Mr. ElBaradei voiced hope that the award will serve to help the international community achieve the goal of developing a functional system of global security that does not derive from a nuclear weapons deterrent, but rather is based on addressing the security concerns of all people.

"The Prize strengthens my resolve to fulfil both aspects of the IAEA mandate - ensuring the benefits of nuclear energy in the service of humankind, and working towards a world free of nuclear weapons," he declared.

The IAEA, he noted, was founded with a simple credo: Atoms for Peace - meaning that nuclear science should be used safely and securely in the service of humanity and not for its destruction.

Mr. ElBaradei said he was at home with his wife when he heard the announcement on television. "It came as an absolute surprise to me. We were overjoyed by the news," he added.

Set up in 1957, the IAEA serves as the world's nuclear inspectorate. With 2,200 professional and support staff from more than 90 countries, the Agency also helps countries to upgrade nuclear safety and security, and to prepare for and respond to emergencies. In addition, it functions as the world's focal point to mobilize peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology for developing countries.

Mr. ElBaradei joined the Agency in 1984 and held a number of high-level policy positions, including Legal Adviser and Assistant Director General for External Relations, before taking the reins in 1997.

The 63-year old IAEA chief served previously as a diplomat with the Egyptian Foreign Service. He has lectured widely in the fields of international law, international organizations, arms control and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and is the author of various articles and books on these subjects.

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