WikiLeaks cable shows US at odds with ElBaradei

VIENNA – Washington’s differences with Mohamed ElBaradei over his Middle East views and his handling of nuclear investigations in Iran and Syria persisted into the last months of his tenure as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released Friday on the WikiLeaks website.

The cable, written Jan. 13, 2009, indicates that tensions continued after the U.S. government formally gave up its efforts to unseat ElBaradei.

It also reveals ElBaradei’s preoccupation with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his belief in the need for democratic change in the Middle East, long before he recently became a driver of Egypt’s political reforms and a potential presidential candidate there.

On the Middle East, ElBaradei, an Egyptian, “said the situation is terrible, Arab governments (i.e. Egypt and the Gulf states) lack credibility and there is a growing gap between rich and poor,” said the cable, written by Gregory L. Schulte, then chief U.S. delegate to thee International Atomic Energy Agency.

Arab governments “need to work on ‘internal reform, not just foreign policy,'” Schulte cited ElBaradei as saying in a private meeting.

Since his return to Egypt last year, ElBaradei has reinvigorated a youth movement that reached out to him as a leader in its calls for reform, seeing him as independent, untainted by state corruption and as a figure who represents international success. … >>>

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