United Nations nuclear watchdog chief Amano dies aged 72 - IAEA

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 22, 2019

Amano held the position of IAEA director general since 2009 and steered the United Nations agency through a period of intense diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program.

The agency announced Amano's death on Monday.

"The Secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency regrets to inform with deepest sadness of the passing away of Director General Yukiya Amano", the IAEA statement said.

The announcement was made on the day Amano was expected to announce his decision to step down due to an illness that had visibly weakened him over the past year.

He had been preparing to leave his position in March, well before the end of his third four-year term, which ran until November 30, 2021.

"The Secretariat is in communication with board members", an IAEA spokesman said in an emailed statement when asked about the process for choosing a successor.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, tweeted that she was saddened by Amano's death and called him "a man of extraordinary dedication & professionalism, always at the service of the global community in the most impartial way".

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Amano, who became the first Asian to be elected to the post in 2009, worked to address the Iran nuclear issue as well as to beef up the watchdog's oversight of North Korea's nuclear program.

"I commend his skillful and professional performance".

"Director General Amano was greatly respected as an effective leader, diplomat, and true gentleman by the entire staff of the U.S. Mission and by fellow diplomats and civil servants across the United States government", the U.S. ambassador to worldwide organizations in Vienna, Jackie Wolcott, said in a statement.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he "always admired his wisdom and foresight - his ability to make informed decisions in the most hard circumstances".

In addition to the Iran nuclear talks, Amano contributed to the 1995, 2000 and 2005 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conferences, and chaired the 2007 Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

According to the agency's biography, Amano was Japan's representative to the agency from 2005 until his election as director general in July 2009.

A graduate of the Tokyo University Faculty of Law, Amano joined the Japanese Foreign Ministry in 1972 and was posted to jobs in Belgium, France, Laos, Switzerland, and the US. He also sought to improve the safety of nuclear power plants following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in northeastern Japan.

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