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IAEA, ElBaradei Win Nobel Peace Prize


The 2005 Nobel peace prize has been awarded jointly to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the agency's chief, Mohamed ElBaradei.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says he first learned of the award when he watched the announcement live on television.

"And then I heard, in Norwegian, "the International Atomic Energy Agency" and my name - in Norwegian (it) is still the same - and I was just on my feet with my wife, hugging and kissing and full of joy and full of pride," he said.

The Nobel Committee bestowed the award jointly to Mr. ElBaradei and his agency for their work in curbing nuclear arms. For the 63-year-old Egyptian lawyer and former diplomat, who has led the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency for eight years, it is an incredible honor.

"I am very humbled and extremely honored by this recognition of the work of the IAEA," Mr. ElBaradei said. " I think the prize recognizes the Number One danger we are facing today, and that is the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons, the continuing existence of thousands of nuclear weapons, and the prospect of nuclear terrorism."

Mohamed ElBaradei says the award represents the importance of the multi-lateral approach his U.N. agency takes in resolving the challenges today, and those in the future.

"The award basically sends a very strong message (of) 'keep doing what you are doing," he said. "Be impartial, act with integrity, speak truth to power,' and that is what I will continue to do. But the advantage of having this recognition today (is) that it will strengthen my resolve. It will strengthen the integrity of the agency. The fact that there is overwhelming public support for our work definitely will hopefully help me to resolve some of the major outstanding issues that we are facing today, including North Korea, including Iran, dissemination of (the) fuel cycle, nuclear disarmament issues. So, it is a responsibility, but it is also a shot in the arm (momentum), as the president of the Noble Committee told me over the phone, that they want to give the agency, and me, a shot in the arm and more forward, and we will do that."

Mr. ElBardei will formally receive the peace prize at a ceremony in Oslo in December.

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