Yukia Amano 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Yukia Amano, who late last year replaced Mohammed ElBaradei as the head of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived quietly in Israel on Monday
for a two-day visit as the guest of the Israel Atomic Energy
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The purpose of the visit, which was unannounced beforehand,
is believed to be to facilitate relations between Israel and the
This is the first visit to Israel by an agency head since ElBaradei
was here in 2004.
Amano, of Japan, is scheduled to meet President Shimon
Peres, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Intelligence Agencies Minister
Dan Meridor (who is also in charge of atomic energy), top officials of the
Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and the heads of the strategic affairs
department in the Foreign Ministry.
He is not scheduled to meet with
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak or Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Amano’s accession to the head of the IAEA was
greeted in December with a sigh of relief in Jerusalem, which had grown
frustrated by what it felt was ElBaradei’s clumsy and politically motivated
handling of the Iranian nuclear dossier.
By contrast, Amano is seen in
Jerusalem as both “more professional” and “more balanced.”
In a related
development, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was interviewed Monday by
Israel Radio in Farsi, and said that Israel harbored no enmity toward the
“We have a great deal of respect for the Iranian people
and yearn to work together with them to bring about a better reality in the
region,” he said in a message broadcast to Iran.
“The problem is with the
regime of the ayatollahs and how it is run, especially on the nuclear issue and
the blatant violation of human rights inside Iran.”