Kazakhstan’s President Says Iran Should Prove to the World Its Nuclear Program Is Peaceful, While the World Must Re-Examine Nonproliferation Drive
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Iran should prove to the world its nuclear program is peaceful and called for the world to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which he said has failed to ensure progress in nuclear disarmament by nuclear weapon states.
Speaking at the opening of the 6th annual Eurasian Media Forum in Almaty on April 19, President Nazarbayev said: “I am convinced that a military confrontation with Iran is fraught with serious consequences for the entire world. We hope Iran, our friendly neighbor, unequivocally proves to the world that it is engaged only in peaceful nuclear energy research. The nations of our region and, I am sure, the entire world are waiting for this.”
“Our country was the first in the world to shut down the largest nuclear weapons test site and voluntarily renounce nuclear weapons, thus strengthening the foundation for the nonproliferation system. Our renunciation of nuclear weapons in exchange for guarantees from nuclear weapon states was Kazakhstan’s strategic choice based on our understanding of our global responsibility. We call on other countries to follow our example. First of all, we direct this call to countries seeking nuclear weapons,” the Kazakh President stressed.
Addressing more than 600 delegates from 50 countries, including prominent politicians and journalists from leading news media outlets, the President spoke of today’s crisis in international politics. Its clear manifestation is “the ineffectiveness of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the lack of noticeable progress in disarmament,” he said.
According to President Nazarbayev, “a limited group of nuclear weapon states view the NPT as an asymmetric agreement which levies special obligations, fraught with sanctions, only on non-nuclear weapon states. At the same time, the nuclear weapon states only undertake vague obligations to negotiate on nuclear disarmament, even as they continue to invest considerable funds in research, development and modernization of nuclear weapons. The inequality inherent in the NPT leads to a situation where nuclear powers don’t consider it necessary to respect their obligations on disarmament. All of this feeds destructive moods and a sense of unfairness of the NPT in certain regions of the world. The worst about it is that this provides arguments for countries seeking weapons of mass destruction.”
“As a leader of a country which voluntarily renounced its powerful nuclear arsenal, I have a moral right to say that approaches to the problem of nonproliferation demand a serious review. Several decades of the NPT being in force is a sufficient enough period to evaluate its advantages and shortages and to introduce corrections in line with the demands of our time. The more countries participate in this, the better,” he stated.
In his speech, the Kazakh President said that overall, in modern times of greater interdependence, a need arises to transform world politics and the global mechanisms which make the systems of international relations and international security move. He noted the importance of switching from global competition to global responsibility, re-examining the notion of a multi-polar world, the principled renunciation of confrontational models and active formation of a regime of trust and strategic dialog, and transition from an elitist to an egalitarian structure of modern international relations. The Kazakh President called on the international community to follow the principles of “global sanity” and “total responsibility” as demonstrated by Kazakhstan when it renounced its nuclear weapons at the dawn of its independence and has pursued policies of peace and dialog since that time.
Creating a “Belt of Economic Wellbeing” in
Central Asia, Assisting Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan
The President outlined a new understanding of Kazakhstan’s regional responsibilities, saying his country will pursue policies directed at improving regional security and creating a “belt of economic wellbeing” as a bulwark against international terrorism, religious extremism, drug trafficking and illegal migration.
“Our country is a leader in terms of investments in our region. We are ready to begin large economic projects in Central Asia. We have repeatedly provided brotherly economic and humanitarian assistance to the governments of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan,” the President noted.
“Kyrgyzstan is undergoing tough times these days. The basis for their difficulties lies in unresolved social problems and low quality of life. The people of Kazakhstan sincerely would like to see peace in this brotherly nation. Everything that is taking place in our neighbors shows a true democracy can only be established where there is stable development and where people want to live in peace with each other. These events also demonstrate freedom of speech is not freedom from responsibility. We are ready to provide Kyrgyzstan with every support and assistance. We will assist in turning our region into a prosperous one of cooperation and friendship,” the President said.
The President announced Kazakhstan has shipped 4,000 tons of wheat to Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance. “Today Kazakhstan is developing a Special Program on Afghanistan which includes measures to strengthen humanitarian and economic cooperation, investments in the Afghan economy and personnel training. In particular, we plan to build a hospital and a school in the provinces of Bamian and Samangan. Our government is ready to stimulate Kazakh companies as they expand into the Afghan market,” he noted.
New Understanding of Multi-Polar World, Not a Zero Sum Game, But a Rejection of Confrontation and Promotion of Strategic Dialog
The President of Kazakhstan has called for a new understanding of today’s multi-polar world which provides for a principled rejection of confrontational models and the active formation of a regime of trust and strategic dialog at both the global level and in the Central Asian region.
“Hopes that a uni-polar world would provide greater stability to global processes did not materialize. However, the developing multi-polar world continues to be considered in an old geopolitical context when relations between the centers of power are viewed from the angle of global competition and a clash of interests. Obviously, such a confrontational approach can only have negative consequences. This is a zero-sum game,” President Nazarbayev said.
“Kazakhstan’s multi-vector foreign policy was devised to establish partnerships with all main centers of influence: Russia, China, the USA, the EU, India, the Arab countries, and the countries of South East Asia. Today, we are nearing a situation when all international players are interested in Central Asia’s stable development and seeing it not as a region of confrontation, but of normal economic competition in the interests of, primarily, the people of that region,” the President said.
Kazakhstan has demonstrated by its international initiatives such as the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Measures in Asia (CICA) that it is possible to pursue a course toward creating a regime of trust and dialog. The President recalled that CICA’s first success in 2002 was the restoration of dialog between India and Pakistan at the height of tensions between these two nuclear weapon states, and he expressed confidence this forum will continue to effectively play the role of a collective mechanism to ensure stability and security in Asia.
“Mistrust can sometimes win as a method, but it always loses as a principle,” President Nazarbayev concluded.
Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship of OSCE
Will Be a Plus for Organization
President Nazarbayev also spoke of Kazakhstan’s bid to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2009, stressing the advantages of accepting this bid for the OSCE which brings together 55 countries of Eurasia, the United States and Canada.
“This is the first time such a bid comes from a former Soviet republic, supported by all the countries of the CIS, from a country with a majority of its territory in Asia, and from a country representing the vast Central Asian region and playing a growing role in energy security. Our vision, unique experience and initiatives could help spur the activities of this respected organization in a number of promising directions,” the President noted.
This year, the participants in the three day 6th Eurasian Media Forum are discussing issues such as problems of the Middle East, nuclear policies of Iran and North Korea, the democratization of the news media in the CIS countries, energy security and pipeline politics of the countries of the Eurasian region, as well as the influence of youth culture on the development of the media.
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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