Stockholm, Oct 07: Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix today said the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency's role as the world's top watchdog against nuclear threats.
The IAEA and Mohamed Elbaradei, Blix's successor as Director-General of the agency, won the prestigious prize for their work in preventing the spread of nuclear material, and its use for military purposes.
``It is very encouraging and fortunate,'' Blix said in a phone interview today. ``I see it as an endorsement of the professional and independent role of the IAEA and of international verification in the field of nuclear power and nonproliferation.''
Blix, who led the IAEA between 1981-1997, said today the award will help strengthen the agency's status as the best tool for assessing the nuclear threat through its inspections of facilities worldwide.
``It will stress the professionalism,'' Blix said. ``You cannot have a good therapy unless you have the correct diagnosis. And the organization is best placed to give a correct diagnosis.''
Blix led the U.N. Inspectors that searched for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. He came under heavy fire from Washington when he urged U.S. President George W. Bush to allow the weapons inspectors and the IAEA to continue their work as a way to stave off a war.
Ultimately a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq and no Weapons of Mass Destruction were found.