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An "Inspired, Important Decision" – Leading International Voices

During the time of IAEA nuclear inspections in Iraq, an IAEA press briefing at the Vienna International Centre. (Photo Credit: D. Calma/IAEA)

In the news media and messages to the IAEA, world leaders of governments and major organizations have offered their views on the IAEA´s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. A sampling follows:

  • The Secretary-General is delighted that the double peace prize for 2005 has been awarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei. Since 1957, the IAEA has worked tirelessly and expertly to stem the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to promote the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Dr. ElBaradei has guided this vital mission with great skill since 1997. The Secretary-General congratulates him and the entire staff of the agency, past and present, on their contributions to global peace. The Prize is a welcome reminder of the acute need to make progress on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament at a time when weapons of mass destruction continue to pose a grave danger to us all. -- Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate 2001 and UN Secretary-General (CNN).
  • This underlines the IAEA´s role and... strengthens ElBaradei´s standing even more. The main thing for the IAEA today is the discussion about Iran´s nuclear energy program. In that work it is important to continue with the professional and independent investigations that characterize the IAEA. -- Hans Blix, Former IAEA Director General and Chief UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq (Reuters).
  • The job that the IAEA does every day is indispensable; to ensure that nuclear energy is only used to peaceful ends... demands courage and patience... You have been a example of this in your years since taking over and have solidified and increased the reputation of the IAEA. -- Horst Köhler, German President (SBS).
  • I congratulate the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director General, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, on being awarded this year´s Nobel Peace Prize. In conferring this well-deserved honor on the IAEA, the Nobel Committee noted, "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 United States is committed to working with the IAEA to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology. -- Condoleeza Rice, US Secretary of State (www.state.gov).
  • I would like to say... how delighted I am to learn that the relevant authorities have given the Nobel Peace prize to the IAEA and its director Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei for their quite significant, and I would go so far as to say, key contribution for this vital search for peace, stability and security throughout the world - something we all aspire to. -- President Jacques Chirac, France (Reuters).
  • I endorse entirely his (Chirac´s) congratulation... It is well deserved and very important, and shows the significance that is attached to the work that Agency does. -- Tony Blair, Britain´s Prime Minister (Reuters).
  • We congratulate Dr. ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. We also welcome the committee´s recognition of the importance of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons. As the largest financial contributor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, we strongly support those efforts. -- Scott McClellan, White House Spokesman (BBC).
  • This is a homage to their crucial efforts to stop nuclear proliferation, in order to prevent the use of such weapons in conflicts between states or in terrorist attacks. Mohamed ElBaradei is an outstanding leader with great integrity. He has always sought to achieve results by negotiations. We saw this clearly during the period before the Iraq war, when he all the way to the end requested that the international weapons inspectors continued their work. -- Kjell Magne Bondevik, Norway´s Outgoing Prime Minister (SBS).
  • He (ElBaradei) is a worthy winner, although not the perfect choice. There are many holes in the apparatus (to prevent nuclear arms proliferation), but... the Agency has contributed much to halt the arms race and to prevent (weapons) from falling into dangerous hands. The message is to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction because if irresponsible people around the world - of whom there are many - manage to acquire nuclear arms, it will be very hard to continue to live on this Earth. -- Shimon Perez, Nobel Laureate and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister (CNN).
  • This was an absolutely correct decision because this man deserves highest praise. He is truly a man of peace, not war. -- Sergei Prikhodko, Russian Presidential aide (Reuters).
  • The chancellor praised the Nobel prize committee´s decision as... a very wise decision, on account of the position that Mr. ElBaradei and his organization took during the Iraq war and during the Iraq crisis. It is at the same time recognition for his stance in the negotiations with Iran. -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder´s Spokesman, Bela Anda(Reuters).
  • It´s an excellent choice... for an organization that does extremely good work. -- Martti Ahtisaari, Former Finnish President. (CNN).
  • This is a well-deserved recognition of your singular contribution to international peace and security, through your able leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency. [Your work has contributed to] a climate of understanding and cooperation, and has earned you the confidence and trust of the international community. -- President Pervez Musharra, Pakistan (BBC).
  • I warmly congratulate the International Atomic Energy Agency and would like to offer my personal good wishes to its Director-General, Mohamed El-Baradei for achieving this great distinction, the Nobel peace prize. -- Javier Solana, EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.
  • We congratulate ElBaradei, but we do not want the IAEA to drift from its professional standards or from its duties. We hope ElBaradei can keep the Agency from political games... We have had constructive cooperation with the IAEA and will continue. -- Hamid Reza Asefi, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman (AFP).
  • It´s a very perceptive award. I´m absolutely delighted by it. It´s absolutely splendid that the efforts of the IAEA are recognised. (The IAEA´s achievement lies in) just being very assiduous in their duties and following on the tradition of monitoring and not towing an American or any particular nation´s line. It´s just doing what they´re supposed to be doing, but doing it incredibly well and efficiently. -- Jack Harris, Vice Chair of Pugwash, the global movement of scientists for nuclear disarmament that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. (AP).
  • It is a worthy reward for his efforts over many years. He (ElBaradei) is a man who does his job solidly and responsibly. He avoids extremes and does staunch work building up IAEA´s role in controlling nuclear non-proliferation. -- Mikhail Gorbachev, 1980 Winner of Nobel Peace Prize (Itar-Tass).
  • I think it will ignite Egyptian pride. It´s good for the issue itself, for non-proliferation, and good for Egypt. It´s a new chance for the country to restore its pride. It will also promote his status because the Americans were very angry with the positions he took on Iraq and other issues. -- Mohamed Al-Sayer-Said, Egyptian Political Commentator (AP).
  • The security of nuclear materials is very relevant to the security problems we have in the world at the moment. It has not always been easy for the IAEA to secure the resources they need from Member States. If this is a strong signal which allows them to generate resources to carry out the work they do effectively, then it is a very positive outcome. -- Ian Anthony, Stockholm Peace Research Institute (AP) .
  • As host country to the IAEA, we are naturally particularly happy about this award. I sincerely congratulate General Secretary ElBaradei and all his co-workers on this well-deserved recognition of their permanent commitment in the service of peace. -- Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, Austria (Reuters).
  • The work of the IAEA and Mr. ElBaradei shows the value of multilateral cooperation on the biggest challenges we face today. We fully support Dr. ElBaradei and the IAEA in their continued efforts in tackling particularly sensitive cases, including Iran. -- Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, European Commission Spokeswoman (Reuters).
  • The commitment of the IAEA in marshalling efforts towards stopping the spread of nuclear weapons was not only outstanding but also a major service to humanity. -- President Mwai Kibaki, Kenya (BBC).
  • The Nobel Committee... has made an inspired and important decision in awarding the Peace Prize to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei and the IAEA. The most pressing global security issue facing all nations comes from the proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction. -- Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Reuters).
Last update: 28 Jan 2021

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