UN atomic watchdog chief welcomes US, Russian non-proliferation commitments

2 April 2009 – The head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today said he is greatly encouraged by the commitment made by the leaders of the United States and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals.

Under the Joint Statement of President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and President Barack Obama of the US, the countries will take concrete steps to fulfil their obligations under the UN-backed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which forms the foundation of the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said he believes the commitment by the leaders to, among other steps, negotiate a treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and strengthen efforts to secure these arms demonstrates leadership and moves the world beyond the Cold War mentality.

The Joint Statement, he said, could also generate momentum towards the universal adherence to comprehensive safeguards agreements.

Mr. ElBaradei noted that he shares the views of Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Obama regarding the need for a verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

He also said that he supports the two presidents’ commitment to pursue a diplomatic solution with Iran that would both allay the international community’s concerns and guarantee its right to a peaceful nuclear programme.

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