ElBaradei protests at EU statement

Agencies, Press TV, Sept. 12, 2007

The UN nuclear chief Mohammad ElBaradei has left an IAEA meeting in protest at an EU statement on Iran, diplomats say.

ElBaradei walked out of an afternoon session of his IAEA in Vienna on Tuesday to voice his anger at a statement issued against Iran by the EU, the diplomats attending the meeting said.

"The Europeans issued a nasty statement against Iran, so Mr. ElBaradei left the meeting," said one diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming declined comment but several diplomats confirmed that ElBaradei had left the session.

ElBaradei has been under pressure as the US and other Western powers warn that a timetable for new inspections in Iran agreed by the IAEA and Tehran last month provides Iran the opportunity to delay new UN sanctions.

Still, the United States and ElBaradei had closed ranks on the first day here Monday of a regular meeting of the IAEA board in urging Iran to meet the timetable and also to do more to show the world it does not seek the bomb, such as suspending uranium enrichment.

The European Union speech was given by Portuguese ambassador Joaquim Duarte, as Portugal is the current EU president.

After walking out, ElBaradei stayed away until the session was adjourned at its regular time until Wednesday. The Portuguese speech was followed by speeches from Canada and Norway.

Just before the Portuguese speech, ElBaradei had received a rousing statement of support from the Non-Aligned Movement, in a speech by Cuban Ambassador Norma Miguelina Goicochea Estenoz as the NAM leader.

She said "NAM shares the view that this work plan (timetable) is a 'significant step forward'" and "reiterates its full confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of the Secretariat of the IAEA and its Director General, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei."


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