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IAEA chief plans to retire

VIENNA: International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed ElBaradei plans to leave office after his third term expires in November 2009, according to an IAEA memo released yesterday.

ElBaradei who has presided over politically volatile IAEA investigations into nuclear activities of North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria since becoming director in 1997, "is not available for a further term in office", the memo said.

The 66-year-old Egyptian and the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, an honour that helped defeat US attempts to deny ElBaradei a third term approved by the IAEA's 35-nation board of directors that year.

The IAEA memo, sent to IAEA board members tomorrow, said the deadline for nominations of candidates to succeed ElBaradei was December 31, and informal consultations would ensue in search of board agreement on the next agency director.



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