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Candidates to succeed ElBaradei review agendas before IAEA governors

VIENNA, May 26 (KUNA) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors is to convene in a closed session Tuesday for presentations by the five candidates nominated to succeed current IAEA Chairman, Dr. ElBaradei.
Diplomatic sources told KUNA the top three candidates are Jean-Pol Poncelet of Belgium, Ernest Petric of Slovenia, and Luis Echavarri of Spain. The other two candidates hoping to succeed ElBaradei next fall are Yukiya Amano of Japan and Abdul Samad Minty of South Africa.
The last two have vied for the post but failed to secure the required two-thirds of the vote within the Board of Governors in an extraordinary session in late March.
The board is still to set a date for a new deliberation and vote and the item is to be listed on the agenda of the regular meeting due in mid June.
The IAEA's Statute states "The staff of the Agency shall be headed by a Director General. The Director General shall be appointed by the Board of Governors with the approval of the General Conference for a term of four years. He shall be the chief administrative officer of the Agency." This means the chief has to be named no later than June so that the annual General Conference in September may approve the appointment.
In the March extraordinary session, the Japanese candidate secured 23, 22, and then just 19 out of 35 votes in the first, second, and third deliberation. The South African figure meanwhile secured 12, 12, and then 15 votes.
The IAEA plays a vital role in encouraging member states to pursue peaceful use of nuclear technology, monitoring nuclear facilities and activity worldwide, verifying non-violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and ascertaining there are no un-declared nuclear programs.
Established in 1953, the IAEA now has a staff of 2,200 from 90 countries and an annual budget of some USD 290 million.
Dr. ElBaradei is the IAEA's fourth Director General since 1997. He was first appointed to the office effective December 1997, and reappointed in 2001 and 2005.
The 2005 Nobel Prize Laureate follows Hans Blix (1981-1997); Sigvard Eklund (1961-1981); and Sterling Cole (1957-1961).(end) amg.wsa KUNA 261203 May 09NNNN