Proliferation Press

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

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.

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