Nuclear disarmament and Kazakhstan’s role in the process discussed in Washington
Sept 12. MFA
Leading American experts in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation met September 12 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC to discuss the state of the process, the role of Kazakhstan in it and the next steps to be taken to reduce the global threat of nuclear weapons.
The symposium was held under the title of “Looking Back at the Legacy of LTBT and the future of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)” and was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT). The event was organized by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the United States, Green Cross International and the Arms Control Association. The event also included a presentation of The ATOM Project and an exhibition entitled “Looking for Peace” of the art of the project’s ambassador, international anti-nuclear weapons activist Karipbek Kuyukov.
Green Cross International Program Director Paul Walker, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Director Thomas Putnam, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and former US LTBT negotiator Ambassador James Goodby, former Director of Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Dr. Timothy Naftali, a member of the Committee on “Technical issues related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty” of the National Academy of Sciences Linton Brooks, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association Daryl Kimball and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear and Strategic Policy Anita Friedt attended the event.
The speakers presented detailed histories of the conclusion of two treaties prohibiting nuclear tests and highlighted the problems standing in the way of the CTBT entering into force, as well as noted the existence of various prerequisites for its ratification by the United States, including the technical ability to ensure global monitoring for possible violations of the ban.
Kazakhstan Ambassador to the United States Kairat Umarov also commented at the event about the significance and future of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and Kazakhstan’s initiatives in the sphere of non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. Umarov stressed that Kazakhstan is pressing for more decisive actions by the international community to eliminate the nuclear threat.
The ambassador said a new phase in the global process of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament was launched 22 years ago with the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, which was followed by other practical steps, such as the establishment of a Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (CANWFZ).
“In 1996, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was opened for signing at the UN and Kazakhstan was among the first to sign. Since then, 183 countries have joined the treaty and 159 states have ratified it. However, as it is well known, there are eight countries left that need to sign and ratify it to ensure the treaty’s entry into force and we call upon those states to take such a step,” Ambassador Umarov said.
Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador at Large Roman Vassilenko, stressing to the event’s participants the need to strengthen confidence in international relations and the importance of involving the wider international community into the process of nuclear disarmament, discussed the nuclear disarmament initiatives of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, including the proposal for a Universal Declaration of a Nuclear-Free World and The ATOM Project. “People from more than 100 countries have already supported The ATOM Project. We believe that only by galvanizing the international community for more actions on nuclear disarmament, can we achieve the goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” Vassilenko said.
ATOM Project Honorary Ambassador Kuyukov, who was born without arms not far from the test site, reminded participants of the tragic consequences of nuclear testing, which he and hundreds of thousands of people in Kazakhstan have experienced, and urged all participants to support The ATOM Project in its effort to achieve a final and irrevocable ban on nuclear weapons testing.
Karipbek explained that anyone who opposes nuclear weapons can visit www.theATOMproject.org and sign an online petition to the governments of the world supporting the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. During the event, the artist also presented his paintings as part of the “Looking for Peace” exhibition.
“My portraits are a cry of the souls of Kazakhstan people, those victims of nuclear tests who are not able to tell the whole world about their tragedy directly. The response we have received to this new initiative around the world gives me confidence about the future of nuclear disarmament. I want our generation to be the last victims of nuclear tests in the history of mankind. Let us join hands and make this goal a reality,” said Kuyukov.
“Your words give great inspiration to all of us who work for a nuclear test ban,” Kimball told Kuyukov. “You may be confident that together we will achieve this goal.”
Note: Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water Treaty (LTBT, also known as the Moscow Treaty) was signed on Aug. 5, 1963 in Moscow. The USSR, the USA and Great Britain were parties to the agreement. The treaty entered into force on Oct. 10, 1963 and was opened for signing to other countries on Aug. 8, 1963 in Moscow, Washington and London. The USSR (Russian Federation), the United States and the United Kingdom are depositories of the treaty. Currently, 131 states are participants of this treaty.
In 1996, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signing at UN. Currently, 183 states have signed it and 159 countries have ratified it. To make the treaty enter into force, the treaty’s so-called Annex 2 requires remaining eight specific countries to sign and ratify. Those countries include Egypt, Israel, India, Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.
The ATOM Project (www.theatomproject.org) was also presented at United Nations in New York City on Sept. 4. Senior representatives of the world’s largest international organization and other organizations coming under its umbrella, including the Organization of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBTO), attended the event.
The ATOM Project is an international campaign developed to raise public awareness about the humanitarian and environmental consequences and dangers of nuclear testing in order to achieve a permanent ban on nuclear weapons testing.
President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev launched the project on Aug. 29, 2012 at an international conference in Astana.