A new stage in the disarmament process

Aug 29. Kazpravda. Moscow

By Olga KAZANTSEVA

A new stage in the disarmament processAhead of the International Day against Nuclear Tests, the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the Russian Federation held a roundtable in Moscow, themed «From the nuclear test ban to a nuclear-free world.»

Landmark

For over four years already, at the initiative of Kazakhstan and on the UN support, August 29 is marked as the International Day against Nuclear Tests. It is natural therefore that in a panel discussion held yesterday in the editorial office of the «Arguments and Facts «, aspects of the global nuclear threat and its elimination were discussed in the «country» context:  special attention was paid to the part of our country in the global anti-nuclear movement, the initiatives of President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the nuclear non-proliferation.

The event was attended by the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Russia Galym Orazbakov , Ambassador at Large of the RK MIA Roman Vasilenko, Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project- Kazakh artist Karipbek Kuyukov , reputable Russian experts , representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations, leading Kazakh and Russian media.

The date of the initiative, which has become global, is not accidental: 22 years ago on August 29, the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was closed down on Kazakhstan President’s decree. Since then, our country has consistently reiterated commitment to non-proliferation, proving by example that the risk of the deadly weapons use can be eliminated forever.

Addressing the meeting, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Russia Galym Orazbakov stressed that the historic act, which embodied the will of Kazakhstan people, backed by the political will of the country’s leader, opened a new stage of the global non-proliferation and disarmament process. This unprecedented step was followed by a free-will scrapping of the world’s fourth nuclear arsenal (more than a hundred intercontinental ballistic missiles with 1 040 nuclear warheads, 375 cruise missiles with nuclear warheads and 40 heavy Tu- 95 bomber aircraft).

Since then, Kazakhstan has frequently been a discussion venue of anti-nuclear initiatives. Since 2010, the country hosted international conferences on the formation of a nuclear-free world with participation of the IAEA and the UN. This year it twice held discussions on the nuclear issue of Iran. Since 2012 the ATOM project is implemented, aimed to pool together the efforts of world centers for the prevention of nuclear threat, the Ambassador said.

Process development

Ambassador at Large of Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry Roman Vasilenko, analyzing the topical aspects of non-proliferation, referred to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which Kazakhstan signed among the first and which was joined by 183 and ratified by 157 countries, including the major nuclear powers: Russia, UK and France. However, its entry-into- force is restrained by inertia of the states named in the second annex to the CTBT: Egypt, North Korea, China, Israel, India, Iran, Pakistan and the United States. And although the members of the «nuclear club» observe the moratorium on testing, de jure the global ban is not yet operational. And, as we know, at the beginning of this year, North Korea made another nuclear test.

– To Kazakhstan, the CTBT entry into force is among the foreign policy uppermost priorities, — said R. Vasilenko. At present, our country as a coordinator is in consultations with the nuclear «five» on the terms of the Protocol on negative assurances.

Another important initiative, proponed by Kazakhstan President is the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration on a nuclear-free world, whose relevance can hardly be overestimated, as the lack of confidence in the global disarmament process has reached the point, when a new impetus is needed to achieve a breakthrough.

At the same time, R. Vasilenko went on, the twenty-first century is unthinkable without the use of the «peaceful atom.» To many nations, addressing the problems of poverty, unemployment, food shortage is tied with the nuclear power projects, but, certainly, under a strict control of the UN and the IAEA.

– Our efforts towards a nuclear-free world have nothing to do with radiophobia or a utopian desire to «forget» forever the secret of getting energy of the split nucleus. Nuclear-free world is a full ban on the military use of nuclear energy. That’s the nuclear-free world we are talking about, and it is our common goal.

Abolish Testing. Our Mission

The International Project ATOM — an abbreviation of the four English words Abolish Testing. Our Mission- is Kazakhstan President’s initiative launched a year ago and aimed at a broad public awareness of the threats and consequences of nuclear tests for all life on the planet. The project involves the opportunity for every citizen of the Earth to sign the online petition to the governments of the world to abandon nuclear tests and speed up the enactment of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

At yesterday’s meeting, the international initiative of Kazakhstan was presented by the honorary ambassador of the project Karipbek Kuyukov — a man who knows about the tragic consequences of nuclear testing firsthand. A native of the Semipalatinsk region was born without arms, but showing an indomitable will, got educated and became a well-known artist, whose pictures reflect the pain, suffering, warning and hope for the triumph of the human reason. Karipbek paints with his mouth and toes, fixing in his pictures the childhood memories and tales of the parents, the dire impact of nuclear testing.

His pictures, displayed in an exhibition at the «AIF» press center moved the viewers. So did his speech. The deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Natural Resources , Environment and Ecology , co-organizer of «Nevada — A New Earth » Maxim Shingarkin said: » After K. Kuyukov, there’s nothing else to add … «

Director general of Informational Analysis Center for the Study of the post-Soviet space of Moscow State University Alexey Vlasov said that Kazakhstan’s giving up the nuclear arsenal was not an impulsive decision, but a logical choice in favor of joining the club of civilized nations, and at the same time a decision that determined the country’s development contours for many years to come.

The meeting concurred that Kazakhstan has blazed the trail of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, inaugurating thereby an important new phase in the global process.

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