Mixed reactions to atomic agency chief's Nobel

7th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 7 (AFP) - French president Jacques Chirac and British prime minister Tony Blair hailed the award Friday of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its chief, Mohamed ElBaradei.

PARIS, Oct 7 (AFP) - French president Jacques Chirac and British prime minister Tony Blair hailed the award Friday of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its chief, Mohamed ElBaradei.

"I'm happy to see the Nobel Peace Prize to go to the IAEA and its director general, M. ElBaradei, who has for a long time, and through the current difficult period, made a decisive contribution to the search for peace," Chirac said.

Blair, at Chirac's side, said the prize showed "very clearly" the UN agency's work for peace and security in the world.

France and Britain, with Germany, have led EU negotiations with Iran to try to curtail the latter's nuclear development programme, which Europe and the United States fear could be used to build a nuclear arsenal.

Those talks broke down in August when Iran decided to go ahead with uranium enrichment in violation of a deal with the European Union.

ElBaradei -- who was deeply involved in the discussions -- has said he hopes the talks will resume in the near future.

But the IAEA does not enjoy everyone's endorsement.

A French green group on Friday blasted the Nobel committee's choice, saying the IAEA had failed lamentably to prevent nuclear proliferation.

Sortir du Nucleaire (Get Out of Nuclear) said the IAEA should be scrapped because, by "promoting" civilian nuclear power, it had enabled countries to build atomic bombs.

"The IAEA is hoodwinking the public by claiming that its inspections are preventing access to nuclear weapons by countries that have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty," Sortir du Nucleaire said in a press statement.

"India, Pakistan and Israel have joined the five 'great powers' (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain) in having an unjustifiable right to possessing nuclear weapons and in not meeting their pledges on nuclear disarmament.

"Recent developments (Iran, North Korea etc.) have confirmed the IAEA's patent failure," it said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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