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President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Official website of the

President of the Republic of Kazakhstan


Remarks by President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the International Conference Titled “From a Nuclear Test Ban to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World”

29 august 2012 year


Dear friends!

Today the world has been marking for the third time the observation of the International Day against Nuclear Tests.

The Day was established by the UN General Assembly resolution, which was presented at the initiative of Kazakhstan, the first country in history to have closed the nuclear test site on its territory.

This historical act made by the will of the people of our country 21 years ago has great civilization significance.

In this concern I would like to highlight three main points.

First. It was Kazakhstan’s decisive step towards its real sovereignty and independence.

Nuclear weapons and radiation was far from being a distant theory for the people of Kazakhstan.

It was a terrible and inexorable evil that had been devastating our land for more than four decades.

A total of nearly 500 nuclear explosions of the so-called “peaceful purposes” were carried out in the atmosphere, underground and above ground on the test site. 

This is half of all the tests carried out in the world during the existence of nuclear weapons.
Day-to-day radiation poisoned steppes, rivers and lakes, slowly destroying all life around.

The Nuclear Devil caused harmful damages to more than one and a half million of people who lived around the test site.

The tragic consequences of nuclear testing are felt to this day.

Broad popular movement to support my initiatives against nuclear tests gave me confidence and energy in promoting the interests of the people.

Despite the tough confrontation of the Soviet leadership and the military-industrial complex, I signed the decree to close the test site.

Second. The 29th of August has become the starting point in the process of acquiring by the whole Central Asia of the status of a nuclear-free zone region.

Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear potential, inherited from the Soviet military machine.

It was more than 110 ballistic missiles with 1200 nuclear warheads, able to reach any point on the earth.

At that time, we often heard opinions that “lowered” the significance of Kazakhstan’s courageous step.

For example, some people argued that this step was explained by our inability and lack of capacity to support atomic arsenal.

I would like to remind that Kazakhstan is the second largest possessor of uranium reserves in the world and ranks first in its production.

The economic potential of the republic is equal or exceeds the GDP of some "threshold" countries.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we had both specialists and necessary infrastructure to conduct military nuclear programs.

Therefore, two decades ago the emergence of a new nuclear power in the name of Kazakhstan was only a matter of political will and time.

But we showed political will and unconditionally withdrew from the membership in the Nuclear Club.

In cooperation with the United States and Russia we eliminated the warheads and bombs.

In September 2006, together with other countries we signed the Semipalatinsk Treaty, which declared Central Asia a nuclear-free zone.

Third. The closure of the Semipalatinsk test site launched a new stage of the global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament process.

Before August 29, 1991 mainly restrictive measures on nuclear safety had been taken.

Kazakhstan was the first to accomplish the act of complete and unconditional ban on the testing and on the development of weapons of the “judgment day”.

Sixteen years ago, by the UN decision the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was opened for signature.

And Kazakhstan was among the first to join it.

Now 183 countries have already joined the Treaty, and 157 states ratified it.

All the member states of the Nuclear Club observe moratorium on nuclear testing.

The closing of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was followed by other major test sites of the planet – in Nevada, Novaya Zemlya, Lop Nur and Moruroa.

That is why the 29th of August is a decisive moment that has shifted the danger of nuclear apocalypse for the whole world.

I am confident that with years and decades awareness of the significance of this date of the whole international community will only increase.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The British magazine the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been measuring the level of the global nuclear threat by the symbolic Doomsday Clock for sixty five years already.

In the beginning of this year the magazine moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock one minute closer to the date of possible nuclear disaster.

Why this decision was made?

The scientists wanted to attract urgent attention of the participants of the Global Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to the array of problems in this field.

Nowadays we observe the reduction of the global nuclear security strengthening process, even despite the regular summits on this subject.

Firstly, we have not reached the universality of the non-proliferation regime.

“New” nuclear and some “threshold” countries are still not included in the Treaty.

Secondly, two years ago, the United States and Russia signed the Prague Treaty which furthered a Strategic Arms Reduction process.

However, this did not become an example for other nuclear-weapon states.

Thirdly, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) can’t come into force.

Signatures of only a few ”threshold” group countries are needed for it to become operative.

Fourthly, the issue of the global monitoring of the development of national nuclear power programs remains unregulated.

The lack of clear unambiguous rules casts a shadow of nuclear ambitions or even of support to nuclear terrorism, on almost any nation that seeks to use the peaceful atom.

This manifested injustice does not promote non-proliferation regime, but breeds mistrust in nuclear safety.

There are concerns that the amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material will not come into force, as planned, in 2014.

The reason for these apprehensions is a stupor in their ratification by a number of countries.

Fifthly. The accident at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant last year clearly outlined for the whole world the problem of technology gap in ensuring safety at the facilities of peaceful atom.

Here is an incomplete list of issues slowing down the formation of the global nuclear safety system.

But all these are only results, not reasons.

The sources of these problems are deeper.

The drawbacks of the modern global politics, largely inherited from the past epochs influence the current state of the global nuclear safety.

This is the inertia of block thinking, the lack of trust and openness in the relations between the countries, the lack of responsibility of individual states.

The chaotic nature of the objective course of a multi-polar world worsens the situation.
Some politicians and military men are still intoxicated with the opium of military atom. 

There are forces in the world, which have a restricted vision of the global multi-polar world, first of all, as a combination of a number of centres of nuclear forces.

I am convinced that there is no place for exotica of «nuclear umbrellas» in the future.

It is immoral to make the issues on nuclear safety a small coin while solving the other problems of inter-state relations.

And at the same time the twenty-first century is impossible without nuclear power.

According to experts, the needs of the world economy in energy will be doubled by 2035. Today about 2 billion people on the planet have no access to electricity.

For many countries, the solution of problems of poverty, unemployment, lack of food is related to the implementation of projects of peaceful nuclear energy, of course, under the strict control of the UN and the IAEA.

That is why our idea of a nuclear-free world has nothing to do with the radio phobia or utopian desire to ever "forget" the secret of energy fission.

The nuclear-free world is a complete ban on the military use of nuclear energy.

This is the essence of my proposal on the development and adoption of the Universal Declaration of a nuclear-free world.

I remain a consistent supporter of this idea.

Distinguished participants of the conference!

From the standpoint of political realism it is necessary to recognize that the solution of key problems of the global nuclear security can not be separated from the general process of transformation of the modern world order.

Recently, speaking at the Astana Economic Forum, I called to form a new world order in the format and on the principles of G-GLOBAL.

Acquiring of freedom from the fear of nuclear self-destruction should become an important initiative of the G-GLOBAL forum.

I am confident that the breakthrough in the global nuclear safety is also possible on the basis of five principles proposed by the G-GLOBAL.

First. A step-by-step plan of comprehensive arms reduction with participation of all nuclear states that should be drawn out and adopted by the UN is necessary.

First of all, the nuclear test ban treaty should be entered into force.

It is important to work out mechanisms of promotion of states that had cancelled their military nuclear programs.

But we have to do it gradually.

For example, we can use the practice of rejecting modernization and deactivate obsolete nuclear warheads and means of delivery.

The work should be obviously done along the process of nuclear disarmament carried out by the nuclear-weapon states - the United States and Russia.

The measures to curtail the nuclear umbrellas are further seen realistic.

It is a question about the restriction of placing and storage of nuclear weapons only outside the national territory of the state, possessing them.

Second. Strong international security guarantees to all participants of regional nuclear-free zones are very important.

It is necessary to develop mechanisms to encourage states which principally refused from nuclear weapons programs.

The problems associated with the prospects of nuclear power in some countries can be solved only on this basis.

To date, 30 states have taken national commitments in the field of nuclear safety.

The international anti-nuclear law and practical politics should not have double standards and exceptions.

Third. Nuclear disarmament and nuclear-free world is unthinkable without the trust of all parties involved in this process.

The principle of trust is a reasonable alternative to the military concept of deterrence, including nuclear ones.

In a month we will mark the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan's initiative on the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

The CICA today is a developing promising structure for regional and global security.

It brings together 27 states with half of the world's population and produces more than a third of the global output.

The successful development of the CICA shows that in the twenty-first century the issues arising in relations between the states can be constructively resolved only on the basis of trust.

The global nuclear security system should use the potential of the regional structures such as the CICA, the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and others.  

Therefore, it is necessary to expand their “baskets” with the issues on formation of a nuclear-free world.

Offering the idea of the G-GLOBAL, I called the global tolerance one of the fundamental principles of the new world order.

Unfortunately, we are still observing false messages to reinforce any religion by the power of nuclear weapons.

Let me remind you that 20 years ago Kazakhstan firmly rejected the advice of some "well-wishers" and the dubious honor to become the first Muslim nuclear power.

Nuclear weapons are suicidal for humanity.

Suicide as a direct challenge is proscribed by all regions of the world. 

And from this point of view aspiration for possession of nuclear weapons power is an absolute blasphemy.

A nuclear-free world is our common goal to which the humanity should aspire.

Only by acting together, we can make our world safer and better.

We have the opportunity to remind the world once again of the tragic consequences of nuclear testing, to encourage the global community to more decisive actions on complete and unalterable prohibition.  

For this reason, today Kazakhstan is launching its international project called ATOM.

The name of the project ATOM is an acronym formed of the first four letters in the English language which reads as «Abolish Testing. Our Mission».

As part of this project, any person in the world who stands against nuclear weapons can sign the petition to the world’s governments online to call for a complete ban of nuclear tests and thus, to facilitate a sooner adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

I call the participants of the conference and all the people of the world to support ATOM project and make building of a nuclear weapons-free world our most important goal.

Fourth. I see the global transparency as one of the foundations of the future nuclear-free community of nations.

Kazakhstan through its antinuclear experience has demonstrated to the whole world the power of openness in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Recently, in transparent manner, we carried out the project of transportation of 210 tons of spent nuclear fuel to a safe storage.

And we continue transparent work on the transferring Kazakh reactors to low-enriched fuel.

With the IAEA a unique automated system of accounting, control and physical protection of natural uranium is being created.

The work on Kazakhstan's bid in the IAEA to place in our country the International Nuclear Fuel Bank has been carried out already at the practical level.

All these are examples of unconditional benefits for our country, which abandoned nuclear weapons.

And it is also an example for other states. 

Fifth. The movement to the nuclear free world is the way to constructive multilateralism.

Positive cooperation for the sake of security of the mankind demonstrates involvement of many countries in the work of transforming the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site to the "territory of peace."

The high level of cooperation on this issue between Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States was marked in the joint statement of Presidents of the three countries, adopted during the Seoul Global Nuclear Security Summit.

Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and a number of international organizations significantly contributed to the various rehabilitation projects.

We are grateful to all for this help.

Many different programs of the United Nations play an important role in overcoming the effects of nuclear testing.

Two years ago, Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon personally visited the area of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

I am thankful for his support and high appreciation of the anti-nuclear policy and initiatives of Kazakhstan.

Today, the humanity has a unique chance to get away from the endless brink of nuclear collapse.

And for that, more than ever it is important to bring together all nations and all people of good will!

I call you to actively participate in an interactive discussion in the format of G-global, and to work for a nuclear-free world, for our future and the future of our grandchildren.

Parliamentarians from all countries of the world are present at the conference today.

That is why this forum can be called a prototype of the global antinuclear parliamentary assembly.

I suggest considering the establishment of such international public institute.

Moreover, I would like to attract attention of the participants to the G-GLOBAL Internet forum call upon to actively participate in the interactive discussion under the G-GLOBAL format.

Within the framework of this format millions of users have a dialogue on a wide range of issues on formation in the twenty-first century a new, fair world order.

I have no doubt that an important component of this order will be a nuclear-free world. 

I call upon you to actively participate in the interactive discussion under the G-GLOBAL format and to work for nuclear-free world for our future and for the future of our grandchildren.

Astana, Independence Palace

August 29, 2012

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The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan