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ElBaradei Speaks At Tufts

ElBaradei Speaks At TuftsAccordingto the U.N. nuclear official, the lack of worldwide cooperationon nuclear weapons inspections in Iraq should be taken as a signthat international law needs improvement.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.19.03] According to Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the war in Iraq provided a clear sign that international law needs to be strengthened. In a press conference at Tufts before his keynote address to graduates of the Fletcher School, ElBaradei told reporters that he is "frustrated" by the lack of cooperation between the United States and the United Nations regarding Iraqi weapons inspections - and sees it as a sign that cooperation amongst the international community needs to improve.

"The war in Iraq is a wake-up call that we need to stick together...and we need to move forward and build a better society," ElBaradei - the head of the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA - told the Associated Press.

ElBaradei, who directed the U.N. nuclear inspection teams in Iraq before the war, told reporters gathered on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus that he felt the need for greater cooperation on international issues such as those that led to the conflict in Iraq.

"We need to continue to see and learn that we are best served by solving our problems through dialogue and interaction," ElBaradei told AP. "I don't think that resorting to war every time we have a dispute is going to solve our problems."

ElBaradei said his concerns stemmed from the lack of communication between the U.S. and the IAEA over the return of U.N. nuclear inspectors to Iraq. In a report which appeared on CNN, ElBaradei said that his office has repeatedly requested that inspection teams be let back in the country and is "getting frustrated that we haven't had a response" from Washington.

"The longer that file remains open, the longer that file remains with a question mark in the world for everyone," ElBaradei told AP.

The U.N. nuclear official said that if the Bush administration wants an unbiased investigation that will garner worldwide support, then it should look to the IAEA.

"If they want credible information, it will have to come from an international organization," ElBaradei told The Boston Globe. "That is why it is in the U.S. interest for us to go there."

The U.N. nuclear official told Reuters that "We are the ones with the most...experience. We know whom to interview, we know what to do, and we will definitely be much more efficient completing the job than any coalition could."

Hurst Hannum - professor of international law at the Fletcher school - agreed. In an interview with the Globe, the Tufts expert said that inspections led by U.S. officials alone may lack international credibility.

"If the U.S. does turn up evidence of weapons of mass destruction, I'm not sure how much the rest of the world will believe them," Hannum told the Globe.

ElBaradei agreed, telling the Globe that if the Bush administration's inspectors find nuclear weapons, "There would definitely be people who would doubt the conclusion."

The director general said that without further inspections, the IAEA stands by its pre-war assessment that Iraq is not harboring weapons of mass destruction.

"We haven't any evidence that there has been in Iraq any nuclear weapons program," ElBaradei told the Globe. "We still stand by our conclusion before the war."

The Fletcher commencement speaker also took time to address the nuclear situation in North Korea. At his press conference at Tufts, ElBaradei told reporters that the world needs to be sensitive - but not too sensitive - to the rogue nation's demands.

"While the international community should be sympathetic to [North] Korea's security concerns, sense of insecurity and humanitarian needs, it should not be subjected to blackmail," ElBaradei said in a report which appeared in the New York Times.

Stephen Bosworth - dean of the Fletcher School and former ambassador to South Korea - echoed ElBaradei's concerns. In an interview with the Globe, Bosworth said "They have to make a move on their nuclear program before they can hope to obtain any external assistance. Otherwise, it is blackmail."

Photo courtesy of Associated Press.


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