IAEA chief applauds Russia-US nuke pact

ElBaradei "greatly encouraged" by commitment to reduce arsenals and strengthen nonproliferation.

ElBaradei 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
ElBaradei 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is "greatly encouraged" by Russian-US commitments to reduce nuclear arsenals and strengthen nonproliferation, a statement said Thursday. US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, committed their nations Wednesday to achieving a nuclear-free world and ordered negotiators to work on a treaty to reduce nuclear weapons. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei believes the two presidents' commitment to pursue the verifiable reduction of their strategic offensive arsenals demonstrates leadership and "moves us beyond the Cold War mentality," according to the statement. The Vienna-based nuclear watchdog said ElBaradei shares the leaders' views on the urgent need for verifiable de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula. According to the statement, ElBaradei also supports their commitment to pursue a direct and comprehensive diplomatic solution with Iran that would address concerns about weapons while guaranteeing Iran's right to a peaceful nuclear program.