Slovenia officially fields candidate to lead IAEA

Slovenia officially fields candidate to lead IAEALjubljana/Vienna - Slovenia's government on Thursday decided to field former diplomat Ernest Petric as a candidate to lead the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), further widening the pool of potential successors to Mohamed ElBaradei.

Petric, 72, serves as a judge on Slovenia's Constitutional Court. He previously represented his country as ambassador to Austria and international organisations in Vienna, including the IAEA.

"The government is convinced that the candidate is able to manage the agency professionally and effectively given his personal qualities, diplomatic and managerial experience, and excellent knowledge of the IAEA, as well as of problems and challenges faced by the organisation," the Slovenian press agency STA quoted a government press statement as saying.

Slovenia's candidate is an international law expert who has held high-ranking positions dealing with multilateral diplomacy in the Foreign Ministry.

IAEA member states have until April 27 to name new candidates for Director General of the Vienna-based agency.

Neither Japanese ambassador Yukiya Amano, nor South African diplomat Abdul Samad Minty got enough votes from the 35 countries on the IAEA's governing board in a first session of voting in late March.

Besides Amano, who said he would run again, Luis Echavarri of Spain has officially announced his candidature. Malaysian Noramly Muslim is also in the pool of potential successors to ElBaradei, who retires at the end of November after 12 years in office.

In contrast to the diplomats Petric and Amano, Echavarri and Muslim are technical nuclear experts. Echavarri leads the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency, which is part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Muslim heads Malaysia's nuclear regulatory body. (dpa)

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