In his first speech at the United Nations since winning the Nobel Peace Prize, UN nuclear agency chief Mohamed El Baradei warned that threats to arms control and nonproliferation "cannot be wished away."
El Baradei, beginning his third and final term as head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the General Assembly that his goals in the year ahead would include bringing North Korea back into the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and answering unresolved questions about Iran's nuclear program.
"The current challenges to international peace and security, including those related to nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear arms control, cannot be wished away," El Baradei told the assembly in his annual report. "It is urgent and indispensable that we continue to build a global security system that is equitable, inclusive and effective."
El Baradei and the agency he leads won the 2005 peace prize on October 7. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it wanted to honor him at a time when the threat of nuclear weapons is on the rise and that cooperation is the best way to meet that threat.
He noted that Asia and Eastern Europe account for two of the 24 nuclear energy plans now under construction.