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Remarks With International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei After Meeting

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
May 24, 2006


(3:00 p.m. EDT)

Secretary Rice meets with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. SECRETARY RICE: I'm pleased to welcome back to Washington, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. We have worked together very well and I appreciate his stewardship of the nonproliferation regime. We have had discussions today of our efforts on nonproliferation. I want to thank Dr. ElBaradei, in particular, for the work that you are doing on some innovative nonproliferation ideas like fuel assurances that would allow the proliferation risks associated with civil nuclear programs to be minimized.

We've also talked about the U.S.-India deal and Dr. ElBaradei has been very supportive -- not because he is trying to intervene in U.S.-Indian relations, but as we have talked about it because we need to broaden our concept of nonproliferation regime in order to deal with anomalies like the Indian situation. And then finally, of course, we've talked about Iran and how to bring into being compliance with the Board of Governors resolution that was passed and also the presidential statement that was passed in the Security Council that asks Iran to rapidly comply with the international community's demands. So welcome, Dr. ElBaradei.

DR. ELBARADEI: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY RICE: The floor is yours.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary --

SECRETARY RICE: Do you care to say anything?

DR. ELBARADEI: I can always say something. (Laughter.) No, I'm very pleased to have this meeting today with Secretary Rice. As she mentioned, we have a very -- a number of very important issues on our agenda, ranging from making sure that India become a partner in the nonproliferation framework. To me, this is a win-win agreement and I hope it will be also for Congress. We also are trying to look to the big picture in making sure that we have innovative measures to ensure that sensitive proliferation technology, like enrichment or reprocessing is contained. I talk about multilateral centers, multinational center. President Bush I think made the same idea that we need really to have a new approach to a proliferation of sensitive technology. We talked, obviously, about Iran which is a current crisis we are facing. We discussed ways and means for Iran to come into compliance with the requests of the international community to build confidence in the peaceful nature of its program. I believe that it's very important for Iran to take whatever measures required for the international community to have confidence that its program is peaceful in nature. I believe also it's very important that Iran goes back into the negotiation -- the negotiating table with the Europeans.

Today there was a meeting in London with -- between the 5+1 -- P-5+Germany. I understand the meeting went quite well. And I hope the process will continue and I hope that we'll see that negotiation resume as soon as possible. As I've said before, my preferred solution, obviously, to the Iranian issue, is a negotiated solution that's the most durable solution is a negotiated solution. And again, I thank you. Thank Secretary Rice for her leadership in many of these issues and I look forward to continuing to work together.


QUESTION: Madame Secretary, could you tell us, after the meeting today, how close are you to an agreement now and what are the major obstacles? And Dr. ElBaradei, were you bringing a message from Mr. Larijani and did you ask the Secretary if the United States will become more involved directly in these talks?

SECRETARY RICE: The London meeting had good progress. We did not expect that they were going to finalize all matters and I think they're still working on some matters. But as I understand it -- I did talk with Under Secretary Burns -- it was a very good exchange between the P-5+1. And I believe that they are now prepared to talk about the progress that they've made and perhaps to return these ideas to capitals for further consideration. And I've understood that there is some consideration that the Ministers may meet soon as well.

DR. ELBARADEI: My job is to make sure that Iran fully comply with its legal requirement to clarify outstanding verification issues and that's what - the focus of my work. Naturally, I listen to all the parties that are working to build confidence in the peaceful nature of Iranian (inaudible) program. No, I don't -- I'm not part of that negotiating process. I leave it for the U.S. to decide whether they would like to be a part of the negotiating process. That's not my job. As I said, I'm an honest broker, if you like. I listen to all the parties. I bring their different perspectives to each other. But the final decision has to be made by the parties themselves.

QUESTION: You said that (inaudible) to one another, but you did not bring a message from the Iranians?

DR. ELBARADEI: Well, I had a meeting with Mr. Larijani a few days ago. I listened to his thinking of how the issues could be resolved. Of course, I briefed Secretary Rice on the Iranian point of view, but it is rather different from the U.S. point of view. But how to move forward, as I said, this is for the 5+1 and for the U.S. to decide.


Released on May 24, 2006

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