Proliferation Press

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

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 StraitsTimes.com)

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

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.

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