IAEA chooses Japan's Amano as new head | world | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Sep 26, 2017-Tuesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

IAEA chooses Japan's Amano as new head

The 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency chose a veteran Japanese diplomat as the agency's next head on Thursday, in a tight vote reflecting stubborn North-South divisions of the UN nuclear monitoring organisation. 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.

world Updated: Jul 02, 2009 21:59 IST

The 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency chose a veteran Japanese diplomat as the agency's next head on Thursday, in a tight vote reflecting stubborn North-South divisions of the U.N. nuclear monitoring organisation. 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 US 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.

Saying he would do his utmost to prevent nuclear proliferation, Amano, 62, appealed for "solidarity of all the member states, countries from North, from South, from East and West" to achieve that goal.

While Amano was born after the US nuclear strikes that ravaged the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, he alluded to those events, suggesting that as a "national coming from Japan" he would extend particular efforts to reduce the threat from atomic arms.

Expanding on that theme in recent comments to the Austrian daily, Die Presse, he said he was "resolute in opposing the spread of nuclear arms because I am from a country that experienced Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Amano will be taking control of the IAEA at a particularly difficult time. Its nuclear investigations of Iran and Syria are both deadlocked, and it has no overview at all of North Korea, which is forging ahead with its nuclear arms program.

He still needs to be confirmed by the board in a session planned for Friday, and in September by the full IAEA general assembly. IAEA officials suggested both meetings would rubber-stamp the choice of Amano, saying it would be unheard of for them to overturn Thursday's vote results.

Amano will replace Mohamed ElBaradei, who is stepping down in November after three four-year terms.