Kazakh Foreign Minister Calls for
Stronger Nonproliferation Regime,
Supports New Disarmament Initiatives
Kazakhstan, a country that suffered greatly from Soviet nuclear weapons testing, has been one of the strongest advocates and global leaders for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction since its independence in 1991.
Kassymzhomart Tokaev, Kazakhstan’s
Minister of Foreign Affairs, reinforced the
country’s commitment to these principles
in his May 3 statement at the 2005
Review Conference of the State Parties
to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United
Nations in New York.
In his statement, Minister Tokaev said
Kazakhstan believes the Nonproliferation
Treaty must remain “one of the pillars of
global security that still needs to be
reinforced and protected” and “should
Kazakhstan also calls for “an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the conclusion of a Fissile Materials Cut Off Treaty,” which the Minister described as essential for nuclear disarmament and the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Kazakhstan also supports a proposal “to elaborate, within the Conference on Disarmament, an international legally binding agreement on the non-use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon States against non-nuclear-weapon State
The Foreign Minister noted the Review Conference coincided with the 10th anniversary of the removal of the last nuclear warhead from the territory of Kazakhstan, and stressed Kazakhstan is working with its neighbors to establish a nuclear weapons free zone in Central Asia. The Minister said the treaty establishing such a zone is expected to be signed soon at the former Soviet nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk, becoming “an important milestone in the joint efforts to strengthen the nonproliferation regime.”
The full text of Minister Tokaev’s statement follows.
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by H.E. Mr. Kassymzhomart K. Tokaev,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
New York, 3 May 2005
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, let me extend my congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your election to the Presidency of the 2005 Review Conference of the State Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his introductory remarks made at the opening meeting here.
The system of global security has undergone dramatic changes in the past decade. Threats and challenges, particularly the proliferation of nuclear arms and the rise of international terrorism, have become a matter of grave concern for the international community. The danger of the acquisition of nuclear weapons or their components by terrorists has grown tremendously and has become imminent. The adoption of and general support for the Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) aimed at strengthening the non-proliferation regime and preventing non-State actors from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, is a strong signal in favour of effective multilateral approach in this sphere.
It is absolutely necessary to take well-coordinated and effective efforts at all levels to ensure peace and security. We will not be able to achieve that goal without a strong political will and a strong commitment to practical steps in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.
Kazakhstan, a Party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty since 1993, believes that the Treaty must remain to be one of the pillars of global security, that still needs to be reinforced and protected. It should also continue to be an important instrument in the prevention of vertical and horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as the starting point for nuclear disarmament.
The UN High Level Panel made explicitly clear that the issues of non-proliferation and disarmament must be addressed by the community of nations in order to ensure progress in other areas of international life.
Given the high importance of these issues, we were disappointed with the outcomes of the work of the Preparatory Committee. Acting on the basis of the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference, the Preparatory Committee failed to provide this Conference with specific recommendations regarding joint efforts to ensure effective application of the NPT.
We all know why it has happened. The problems encountered during the review process were the result of conflicts between the interpretation of the Treaty obligations and the interests of the Parties, especially between nuclear-weapon States and others. While some Parties to the NPT try to stress its non-proliferation aspects, others call for an early disarmament.
WMD non-proliferation and disarmament are mutually complementary processes. Kazakhstan continues to believe that it is essential to ensure a fair balance between mutual obligations of both nuclear and non-nuclear-weapons States in order to achieve complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
Kazakhstan calls for a strengthened and universal application of the WMD non-proliferation regimes and believes that the current international agreements in this area, including the NPT, should be adapted to new realities.
The possession of nuclear weapons by some States is a constant stimulus for others to try to acquire them. Therefore, nuclear disarmament, which is a central obligation under the Treaty, should be carried out within the framework of legally binding arrangements. In this regard, Kazakhstan believes that an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the conclusion of a Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty are essential for nuclear disarmament and the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Kazakhstan continues to strongly believe that the NPT should become universal and urges all States that have not yet acceded to it, to do it as early as possible. We should not accept a situation when the international community lacks meaningful tools to influence States that violate the non-proliferation regimes.
But in reality we see that certain States, which are yet to accede to the NPT or CTBT, continue to be in good graces with major governments and do not experience any discomfort either in the international organizations or within the framework of bilateral relations.
Herein lies a serious problem: lack of an effective mechanism that would impose sanctions, at the highest international level, against those States that are actually in violation of the non-proliferation regimes. A unified and fair approach to the solution of that most pressing issue is also lacking. Some States are punished upon mere suspicion that they might possess weapons of mass destruction; others are constantly warned about the harmful nature of such a policy course or censured by means of a unilateral embargo, while still others are simply forgiven.
Since there are no general rules that would address these problems, including those within the framework of the United Nations, the international community is under certain illusions that mislead the international public opinion.
We need mechanisms that reward States for honoring, in good faith, their NPT obligations. In this regard, the Treaty must empower such States to actively participate in nuclear trade and cooperation for peaceful purposes without fear of jeopardizing non-proliferation objectives.
Kazakhstan feels strongly that the demand on the nuclear-weapon States to grant negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States is well-founded and reasonable. In this context, we support the proposal to elaborate, within the Conference on Disarmament, an international legally binding agreement on the non-use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon States against non-nuclear-weapon States.
Having attached great importance to the full implementation of the IAEA safeguards and to the strengthening of the Agency’s verification mechanisms, Kazakhstan signed the Additional Protocol in 2004 and closely cooperates with the IAEA in this area. Kazakhstan implements additional measures to strengthen the regime for the verification of nuclear activities. [Currently, 11 programmes are under way in Kazakhstan in the framework of the IAEA technical cooperation programme. The country is also participating in seven IAEA regional projects]. In 2002, Kazakhstan was accepted into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and is also setting ready to join the Missile Technology Control Regime.
This Review Conference coincides with the 10th anniversary of the removal of the last nuclear warhead from the territory of Kazakhstan. As a State that voluntarily renounced its nuclear arsenal - the fourth largest in the world - Kazakhstan is actively involved in the negotiations to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia. In February 2005, the countries of Central Asia finalized the draft Treaty. This document is to become an important milestone in the joint efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. It should be noted here that all Central Asian countries have agreed to sign the Treaty in Semipalatinsk – the former nuclear testing site, where the Soviet nuclear programme was developed.
My country has a firsthand knowledge of horrendous effects of nuclear tests. During the period of nuclear testing, some 470 nuclear explosions have been conducted in Kazakhstan. Therefore, we consider that it is important to streamline current assistance programs and develop new ones in order to meet the needs of the people living in the affected regions. In this regard, we urge the international community to fully implement the General Assembly resolution on the rehabilitation of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan.
Finally, I would like to express our common hope that the NPT Review Conference will be able to identify concrete measures on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation so that we can restore the global confidence in the Treaty and its effectiveness and viability. I would like to wish us all success in our efforts to achieve that goal.
Thank you for your attention.
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Embassy of Kazakhstan to the USA and Canada
1401 16th Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 232- 5488 ext. 104, Fax: (202) 232- 5845
Contact person: Roman Vassilenko