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Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Kazakhstan opted to abandon nuclear weapons following USSR collapse: Report

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Riyadh (UNA-OIC) � The decision of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to abandon the possession of nuclear weapons, at the very beginning of the country’s independence following the Soviet Union collapse, was a very important event in the history of not only Kazakhstan but on a global scale.

Kazakhstan at that time had the world’s fourth nuclear arsenal, exceeding the reserves of Britain, France and China combined, according to a report received from Kazakhstan’s embassy in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

This event left a deep imprint on the entire foreign policy of Kazakhstan and for years ahead predetermined its focus on achieving the global goal � to save humanity from nuclear weapons.

As stated on 21 September 2017, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a meeting of the UN Security Council on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, “Kazakhstan is an exceptional example of the wisdom of renouncing nuclear weapons.” “In my previous professional work, I met many times with President Nursultan Nazarbayev and had the opportunity to ask him about this decision. He told me that he never regretted this decision, but once stressed: “This is the best I’ve ever done for our young country,” Rex Tillerson said. He also stressed that “the courageous decision of Kazakhstan’s leadership has significantly reduced the threat of getting nuclear weapons, its components, nuclear materials and dual-purpose technologies into the hands of intruders.”

American politicians, like all over the world, have always highly assessed the role of the Kazakh president in nuclear disarmament. For example, speaking at the US Congress in 2004, Congressman and Chairman of the House Energy Subcommittee Joe Barton stated: “As the center of nuclear and biological weapons programs of the former USSR, Kazakhstan had a significant and potentially dangerous power over the world after the collapse of the Union. Instead of conceding to countries that have offered millions of dollars for these weapons, Kazakhstan’s leader Nursultan Nazarbayev courageously decided to destroy horrific reserves and make Kazakhstan a stabilizing force in the region.”

Kazakhstan has been actively participating in the global nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control process since independence, demonstrating a firm commitment to strengthening relevant international institutions and mechanisms. The responsible policy of Kazakhstan in this field not only contributes to the formation of a positive image of Kazakhstan in the world community but also makes a significant contribution to the strengthening of global security, read the statement.

With the aim of intensifying the world disarmament process, Kazakhstan regularly comes forward with new initiatives aimed at reducing the nuclear threat and moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons. In particular, it was proposed to develop a universal treaty on universal horizontal and vertical non-proliferation, a global treaty on the general and complete prohibition of nuclear weapons and a universal declaration of a nuclear-free world. President Nazarbayev also proposed to adapt the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to existing realities and legitimize the new format of the “nuclear club” by including de facto nuclear states there and noted the need for a UN-led step-by-step plan for a comprehensive reduction of strategic offensive arms involving all without exception of nuclear states.

As you know, at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in 2015, the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev put forward an initiative to achieve a world without a nuclear weapon for the UN’s 100th anniversary. Consistently promoting this task, on 29 August 2017, Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana, as part of the opening ceremony of the low-enriched uranium bank of the IAEA, once again recalled that “by our example, we urge all countries that are striving for nuclear weapons to get off this dangerous path.” The date for this event was not random. It was on this day on 29 August 1991, that the decision of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan closed the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. It is profoundly symbolic that the announcement of the UN closing date of the Semipalatinsk test site on August 29 became World Day against Nuclear Tests.

The opening in Kazakhstan of the International Bank of Low-Enriched Uranium under IAEA management has become an important contribution to the process of nuclear disarmament. The main purpose of the establishment of the bank is to establish a mechanism to ensure the guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel to IAEA member states that are not interested in creating a full cycle of its production and faithfully fulfill their nonproliferation obligations. Thus, the establishment of the bank is intended to contribute to the strengthening of global security.

In addition, to facilitate the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the leader of Kazakhstan initiated the international project “ATOM” (Abolish Testing � Our Mission). In the framework of this innovative project, any resident of the world can subscribe to an online petition to the governments of the states of the world with an appeal to permanently abandon nuclear tests and to achieve an early entry into force of the treaty.

In 2018, there was another significant event for Kazakhstan: in New York, on March 2 took place an official ceremony of signing by Kazakhstan of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). This event took place on the day of celebration of the 26th anniversary of the Republic’s accession to the UN. Kazakhstan took an active part in the development and adoption of the text of the treaty, which became the first legally binding document in the history of nuclear disarmament. the main provisions of the treaty are in line with Kazakhstan’s principled position, “which went a long way from the holder of the world’s fourth nuclear arsenal to the country leader in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.”

In addition, in the field of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, such initiatives of the Republic of Kazakhstan as the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, which became the fifth on the planet, are of great importance; proposals for the adoption in the UN of the Universal Declaration of a Nuclear-Free World; the creation in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear weapons.

The anti-nuclear initiatives of Kazakhstan over the past years have yielded tangible results and are extremely important for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons. They, in essence, provide for the gradual passage of several stages: the first – the prohibition of nuclear tests, which does not allow improving nuclear weapons; the second – the prohibition of the production of materials for nuclear weapons, which makes it impossible to update nuclear arsenals; the third – the removal of nuclear weapons from armament and their gradual utilization.

Thus, the initiatives of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev aimed at attracting the attention of the world community to ways and ways of eliminating the causes of the weakening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, as well as increasing its effectiveness.

In general, Kazakhstan’s promotion of the above-mentioned initiatives within the framework of its non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council will promote closer international cooperation on the problems of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. They are aimed at forming an interrelated set of measures that will strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and enhance global security and stability.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

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