October 7, 2005

ElBaradei: Peace Prize a “shot in the arm”

VIENNA (Reuters) - U.N. nuclear watchdog head Mohamed
ElBaradei said on Friday winning the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize
would give him and his agency a much-needed "shot in the arm"
as they tackle nuclear crises in Iran and North Korea.

ElBaradei said he had been certain he would not win,
despite being favored, because he had not received the
traditional advance telephone call from the Nobel Committee. He
only learned of his win while watching the televised ceremony.

The 63-year-old Egyptian lawyer and the International
Atomic Energy Agency won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize for their
efforts to prevent both the spread of nuclear weapons, to new
states and to terrorists, and to ensure safe civilian use of
nuclear energy.

"The award sends a very strong message: 'Keep doing what
you are doing -- be impartial, act with integrity', and that is
what we intend to do," ElBaradei told a news conference in

"The advantage of having this recognition today, it will
strengthen my resolve.

"The fact that there is overwhelming public support for our
work definitely will help to resolve some of the major
outstanding issues we are facing today, including North Korea,
including Iran and nuclear disarmament.

"It is a responsibility but it is also a shot in the arm,"
he added.

ElBaradei, the first Egyptian winner since President Anwar
Sadat in 1978, has faced criticism from many quarters, most
recently from the United States and Iran in his efforts to
investigate Tehran's nuclear program.

U.S. officials also grew impatient over the IAEA's failure
to establish the presence of any nuclear program in Iraq ahead
of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.