Jeffrey LewisMoh-mentum: IAEA Governors To Consider 3rd Term for ElBaradei

The IAEA Board of Governors will hold a closed-door meeting on 27 April 2005 to decide whether Mohamed ElBaradei will recieve a third term as IAEA Director General.

Canadian Ambassador Ingrid Hall, Board Chairwoman, sent a confidential letter to the other Board members announcing the meeting, which is being held “as requested by the Group of 77 and China.”

Reuters, AP and AFP all received copies of the letter. None saw fit to reproduce the full text.

AFP reports Argentina, Algeria (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China) and a number of African, Latin American and Caribbean states have sent letters in support of ElBaradei.

ElBaradei’s supporters, according to AP, are pushing for a meeting before Bob Joseph can be confirmed as John Bolton’s successor as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. The temporary vacancy in the post, they calculate, will create a window of opportunity to push ElBaradei’s nomination through.

That window, however, may close. AP later reported on “a growing sentiment to do no more at the April 27 meeting than agree to defer a decision until June.”

“I think nobody is eager to push this issue—at this point, everyone is hoping for consensus,” said one diplomat familiar with the US position [told AP], suggesting that deferral would give the Americans and others time to find a compromise acceptable to both sides.

Reuters confirmed that “diplomats said the April 27 meeting would not resolve the ElBaradei issue and the IAEA board would also almost certainly move to defer it until its quarterly meeting in June.” But Reuters also notes intense pressure on the United States to drop its opposition to a third term for ElBaradei:

“Some of the closest allies of the U.S. are saying there is only one candidate. If you start the process (of finding a replacement) now, how will you find a candidate? It’s too late simply,” a European diplomat [told Reuters] on condition of anonymity.

“It’s pretty clear ElBaradei will remain,” he said, adding Washington lacked the votes to block him. Even allies Australia and Canada are pushing Washington to back ElBaradei, he said.

The United States, however, continues to scheme against ElBaradei. Washington, Reuters reports, believes a secret ballot might encourage enough defections to block ElBaradei. In the wake of a defeat for ElBaradei, Washington expects several candidates to come forward. “The idea is that if ElBaradei would lose, there would be widespread shock and indignation, and then quickly several countries would pull out the names of fresh candidates,” a Western diplomat told Reuters.

And, just in case you are wondering, the United States still doesn’t have an Ambassador to the IAEA and other international organizations in Vienna—due in no small part to the machinations of John Bolton and Senators Inhofe and Kyl.

Our man in Vienna continues to be Charge d’Affaires, ad interim George A. Glass—who, in a delicious coincidence, shares a name with the imaginary boyfriend invented by Jan Brady in Episode 38: The Not-So-Ugly Duckling.

Sure, we have an Ambassador to the IAEA.

His name, is, um, George … Glass.

Yeah, George Glass.