Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Archive for July 2nd, 2009

IAEA Update: Yukiya Amano To Succeed ElBaradei

Posted by K.E. White on July 2, 2009

Amano clinched the two-thirds majority…barely. From The Guardian:

Yukiya Amano collected 23 votes, compared to 11 for Abdul Samad Minty of South Africa, with one abstention, barely giving him the two-thirds majority needed for victory.

Even that tight margin came only after hard-fought preliminary sessions. A March vote between the two men — Amano, backed by the U.S. and like-minded countries, Minty supported by the developing world — was inconclusive, showing the divide separating the two camps.

Thursday’s vote also went down to the wire. It took four rounds for Amano to prevail due to stubborn support in initial rounds for his rival from the developing nations — a split the Japanese touched on his brief post-session comments to the media.

And Bloomberg News offers this:

“Yukiya Amano was, from day one, the preferred choice of the United States and Europe,” Andreas Persbo, a senior researcher at the London-based Verification Research, Training and Information Center, said in an e-mail. “He is generally seen as a competent diplomat and good administrator.”

Amano is the first Asian elected to lead the IAEA, the body charged with preventing nuclear weapons proliferation and promoting peaceful atomic energy use. Japan is the second- biggest contributor to the IAEA budget.

“I am very pleased for this support,” Amano said in a statement to the media. “I will do my utmost to enhance the welfare of human beings, ensure sustainable development through the peaceful use of nuclear energy” and “prevent the threat of nuclear weapons.”

And BBC News suggests his thin margin of victory may hamper Amano’s leadership of the IAEA, though one would expect with the many hot-botten issues facing the IAEA Amano will have ample opportunities to increase his standing among nations that voted against him today:

Correspondents say his narrow victory may weaken his position, as many countries had stressed the need for the new head to be chosen with the broadest possible backing, to be able to tackle the threat of nuclear non-proliferation.

Some diplomats see Mr Amano as less political than the outgoing chief, Mr ElBaradei who, they say, has been too soft on Iran and too ready to speak out on matters outside his mandate.

Posted in IAEA | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

IAEA: Meeting to Pick ElBaradei’s Successor Highlights Discord

Posted by K.E. White on July 2, 2009

Outgoing IAEA Director-Genereal Mohamed ElBaradei still has no successor, and with no clear front-runner deadlock appears a real possibility. Earlier today the IAEA held a straw poll that cut the field down to two. Unfortunately, the two remaining candidates—Japanese Yukiya Amano and South African Abdul Samad Minty—already faced off in March, neither obtaining the two-thirds majority necessary for winning.

The remaining candidates for IAEA Director-General, Yukiya Amano and Abdul Samad Minty. (Reposted from

The remaining candidates for IAEA Director-General, Yukiya Amano and Abdul Samad Minty. (Reposted from

The eventual victor not only faces nuclear crises in North Korea and Iran, but will have to tackle past proposals for an international fuel bank meant to spur peaceful nuclear technology to non-nuclear states. The conflict: control over the facilities, and concern that such a plan may place more nations on the cusp of nuclear weapons production.

From Reuters coverage of today’s IAEA straw poll:

Amano, Japan’s ambassador to the Vienna-based IAEA, took 20 votes, his South African counterpart Abdul Samad Minty 10 votes with Echavarri, who heads the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s nuclear branch, getting five.

The board was to proceed with up to six further rounds of balloting in the closed-door gathering, if needed, to produce a successor to Director-General and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who retires in November after 12 years in office.

But many diplomats were doubtful that Amano or South African rival Abdul Samad Minty would be able to muster a decisive majority because their support was split along lines of rich and poor nations who disagree on future IAEA priorities.

“I see a deadlock as the most likely (outcome). Unless Amano can pull something very big out of the hat,” another EU diplomat said on the eve of Thursday’s election. “The Minty camp is in reality a ‘block-Amano’ camp, so I don’t see them shifting.”

Rich countries want the IAEA to get tougher on cases of suspected nuclear proliferation such as Iran and Syria. Poor nations want more time and resources devoted to providing them with sensitive nuclear technology for peaceful uses.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »