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September 21, 2019
OP-ED OPINION WORLD

Ambassador of Kazakhstan Daulet Batrashev: About International Day Against Nuclear Tests

29 August – This day is of particular importance for Kazakhstan and for the entire world community.

Exactly 70 years ago, one of the most tragic pages in the history of Kazakhstan started, related to the beginning of nuclear tests, which brought innumerable disasters to people.

In 1991, on this memorable date, the First President of Kazakhstan – Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev made a truly historic decision, closing with his decree the largest Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

The example of Kazakhstan was followed by other countries that ceased functioning of nuclear test sites, which, in turn, paved the way for the adoption in 1996 of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty.

The historic date is August 29, which became the International Day Against Nuclear Tests by the UN decision this year marks the tenth time this year around the world.

Thanks to the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan has rapidly gone from the possessor of the fourth in the world in its destructive power of the nuclear arsenal to the leading country in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Under his leadership, from the day of independence, Kazakhstan has been persistently striving to achieve the goal of a nuclear-free world and turning it into the main task of mankind in the 21st century.

Guided by these ideas, the First President N. Nazarbayev initiated in 2015 the adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution on the Universal Declaration on building a world free of nuclear weapons. In the current complex geopolitical situation in the world, the relevance of the Universal Declaration is growing, and the universal principles and obligations on nuclear disarmament enshrined in it should build bridges between different views on the future construction of a safe world.

In 2016, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, N. Nazarbayev presented his conceptual vision – Manifesto “Peace. 21st Century”, through which the idea runs the red thread that in no modern war there will be and cannot be winners. That is why we urge to go to a world completely free from nuclear weapons, thereby forming the geography of a sustainable world. It is time to put an end to block thinking and adapt the disarmament process to new historical realities by adopting appropriate confidence-building measures.

10 years ago, the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty entered into force. So far this is the last such zone created in the 21st century. We propose tripling our efforts by consolidating the potential of nuclear-weapon-free zones in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Therefore, on the initiative of the First President of Kazakhstan, on August 28-29 of this year in Nur Sultan, a meeting of representatives of nuclear-weapon-free zones was held.

As Nursultan Nazarbayev noted, putting forward this idea, “the creation of zones free of nuclear weapons is one of the most effective means in the fight against its spread”.

Kazakhstan continues to work actively to strengthen global peace and security, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and prosperity for all nations, rid the world of wars and violence, and ensure observation of the principles of international law.

Kazakhstan, having been the first to shut down an active nuclear testing site, promotes soonest entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and calls on all states that have not yet ratified it to take necessary measures. Kazakhstan has always supported the activity of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and will continue to do so.

Our principled backing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is another proof of Kazakhstan’s consistent approach to nuclear disarmament. On August 29 of this year, Kazakhstan transmitted its ratification instrument to the United Nations as the Treaty’s depositary.

Actively participating in all global anti-nuclear efforts of the international community, Kazakhstan supports the initiative of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the new comprehensive disarmament agenda. We share his view that nuclear proliferation is an existential threat for mankind, since “15 thousand nuclear warheads exist in the world, and hundreds of them can be armed in a matter of minutes, leading to a catastrophe and destruction of whole cities”.

We must reverse the recent trends related to insufficient funding of nuclear security and transform the policies that led to multiplication of problems.

We are all deeply concerned with the global state of nuclear security. In this context, I would like to put forth a number of Kazakhstan’s ideas.

Firstly, next year the world celebrates 50 years since the signing of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This event is an occasion for a profound rethinking of modern challenges and threats, with the following development of an actual and realistic disarmament agenda to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

Kazakhstan is ready to cooperate for the purpose of contribution to the success of the upcoming NPT Review Conference. We call on all concerned parties to make efforts to avoid a renewed failure that plagued the 2015 Review Conference.

Secondly, the entry into force of the CTBT remains unresolved. Kazakhstan will continue to promote its earliest entry into force. We are calling on the leaders of the countries instrumental for CTBT’s entry into force to join the Treaty without further delay. We must unite our efforts to launch a movement to ensure CTBT’s soonest entry into force.

Thirdly, aspiring to the future and pursuing new accomplishments, we often overlook the achievements at hand that may at times provide a solid foundation for the coming centuries. Over the last years, painstaking labor and unparalleled efforts brought forth very important agreements and produced mechanisms for strengthening international security.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program (JCPOA), being a real practice example of solving complicated matters through negotiations, was developed and adopted by virtue of dialogue and atmosphere of confidence that Kazakhstan helped create. Our country supported the multilateral negotiation process on this issue, including the organization of 2 rounds of consultations between the E3+3 countries and Iran in 2013 in Almaty.

We are interested in the continuation of the JCPOA, both from the point of view of development of bilateral trade and economic relations with Iran, and consolidation of regional security. We are convinced that the search for a mutually acceptable compromise by diplomatic means remains the only correct and efficient solution of the most complicated global and regional problems.

Finally, we must continue cooperation for the consolidation of efforts of all countries – members of nuclear-free zones to achieve our goal – making Earth a single zone free of nuclear weapons.

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