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In Italy, Director General Speaks to Stem Nuclear Weapons

Mohamed ElBaradei and Pope Benedict XVI

On 8 June at the Vatican, Dr. ElBaradei had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State for the Holy See. (Photo: Fotografia Felici)

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IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei spoke on nuclear disarmament, proliferation and related issues in Rome, Italy, this week, as part of an official visit with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema and other top officials. During the visit, Dr. ElBaradei was awarded Italy's highest honorary peace prize and was scheduled to meet Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

On 7 June, Dr. ElBaradei addressed a special session and roundtable on nuclear issues at the National School for Public Administration. His statement focused on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and perspectives for the future. On 8 June, Dr. ElBaradei is scheduled for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State for the Holy See.

In Rome, the Director General received the prestigious Golden Dove of Peace prize, which is conferred annually by the President of Italy. The judges, chaired by Nobel Prize Laureate Rita Levi Montalcini, cited Dr. ElBaradei´s "strenuous work aimed to avoid the proliferation of nuclear weaponry and to carry out nuclear disarmament".

Over the last 20 years, the prize has been awarded to individuals and institutions that have made unique contributions to peace. It has been won by organizations, such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace, and by individuals such as Nelson Mandela, Michael Gorbachev and Hans Blix, who formerly headed the IAEA and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. In 2006, judges awarded the prize to Dr. Yehudah Paz, Chairman of the Negev Institute and to Hazem Kawazmi, Vice President of the Young Entrepreneurs of Palestine, for their contribution to promoting peace in the world.

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