Interview: ElBaradei says China a valuable partner to IAEA 2007-09-16 05:33:44   Print

    VIENNA, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in an interview with Xinhua that China has been offering "valuable support" to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    China is playing an increasingly important role globally, also notably in IAEA, ElBaradei told Xinhua after a meeting of IAEA governing board that was closed earlier this week.

UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in an interview with Xinhua that China has been offering "valuable support" to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei (File Photo)
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    As a fast growing economy with a vast need for energy, China has become increasingly reliable on nuclear power, which is expected to grow five-folds by 2020.

    Nuclear power will not entail grave impact on climate and can secure a country's energy independence, he said.

    The agency is working very closely with China, he said, noting that the two sides have built a joint training center in China where nuclear security experts are being trained.

    "China is not only a recipient, but a contributor," he said.

    The director general said he has received a congratulatory letter this week from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who pledged China's continued commitment to work with IAEA in promoting peaceful use of nuclear energy and preventing nuclear proliferation.

    "Development and security are the key challenges we are facing," he said. ElBaradei noted that globally 2 billion people are still living under two dollars a day and 1.6 million people still have no access to electricity.

    "Energy is the engine to development," he said.

    Peaceful use of nuclear energy can help alleviate poverty, and the agency is expected to expand programs in this respect, he said.

    However, nuclear material can potentially be used to make nuclear weapons, therefore the agency is committed to enforce nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. "The IAEA is fully aware of its responsibility ... Still we need to address these concerns through diplomatic means," he said.

    The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a good example when it comes to negotiations, said Elbaradei.

    There have been "positive results" after the six-party talks in which China has been playing a very important role, he said.

    The director general called for continued dialogue with Iran over its controversial nuclear program which he considered of vital importance to the security in the Middle East. "We should not add oil to the fire," he said.

    Meanwhile, ElBaradei called on Iran to observe the UN Security Council resolution, which requires Iran to suspend uranium enrichment immediately, to build global trust and confidence.

    "We are not yet in a position to declare Iran's programs are exclusively for peaceful purpose ... but we are moving forward," he said.

    Iran has, for the first time in five years, agreed in late August with IAEA to clarify outstanding issues with its nuclear program.

    "We will be in a much better position" if Iran would fully cooperate, he said.

    On the other hand, said the IAEA chief, "we have not seen any undeclared nuclear facilities operating ... We have not seen concrete evidence that Iran's program has been weaponized."

    Iranian leaders have said Tehran would not bow to western pressure to suspend uranium enrichment, which Iran repeatedly claims will only be used for peaceful means such as generating power.

    Western countries have been pushing for UN sanctions to stop Iran's nuclear program, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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