The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, has called for a drastic cut in atomic weapons, in an article published Wednesday.
Writing in German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the Nobel peace laureate appealed to the US and Russia to "verifiably reduce their arsenals to 1000 or even 500 warheads."
In parallel, he called for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to be put into effect, a move he said was "long overdue," and for negotiations to begin over a treaty to verifiably end the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, reported dpa.
"The only way to prevent atomic weapons from spreading further and ultimately being used, is by getting rid of them," ElBaradei wrote in a special edition ahead of the annual international security conference being held in Munich on February 7-8.
Furthermore, the IAEA-chief said he was "very encouraged" by US President Obama's political commitment to the abolition of atomic wapons.
ElBaradei asked for the international community to build on this goodwill, a veiled call to action for the NATO-heads meeting at the weekend.
Nuclear disarmament is not part of the IAEA's agenda. However, its work is based on the premise of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in which nuclear weapons states pledged to move towards disarmament, while the other signatories promised not to acquire atomic weapons.
ElBaradei's last term as head of the IAEA ends in November. dpa hm al ds