ElBaradei will not seek another term

Vienna, Sep 10 | Updated: Sep 12 2008, 04:13am hrs
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 on Wednesday.

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.

ElBaradei, who has clashed with the United States and allies over alleged soft treatment of Iran, accusations he rejected, had been expected to leave at the end of his current mandate, diplomats accredited to the IAEA said. The IAEA memo, sent to IAEA board members on Friday, said the deadline for nominations of candidates to succeed ElBaradei was Dec. 31.