It was an important event when President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev closed Semipalatinsk nuclear test site by his decree 21 years ago.
President noted that this historic act has an important value to our nation. It was a decisive step to gain sovereignty and independence for Kazakhstan. The nuclear-weapons and radiation weren’t just theory for Kazakh nation. They were cruel, inexorable evil which lacerated our land more than four decade.
There were almost 500 atmosphere, above-ground and underground tests in the territory of our country. It is about a half of all tests of the world taken place during the existence of nuclear weapons. Day by day radiation was poisoning steppes, rivers and lakes, slowly destroying surrounding life.
The total power of nuclear charges is 2,5 thousand times higher than power of atom bomb, which was dropped to Hiroshima in 1945.
Nuclear Moloch harmed the health and lives of more than one and half million of Kazakhs who lived near the polygon. The consequences of nuclear tests are felt till now.
New stage of global process of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament has started after closing Semipalatinsk polygon. Nuclear safety became one of the main directions of policy for young Kazakhstan.
After gaining the independence, Kazakhstan didn’t succumb to the nuclear temptation. After USSR disintegration Kazakhstan had nuclear status alongside Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. There was combat duty of more than 100 missiles with nuclear warheads on the territory of the country. There were 40 strategic bombers with cruise missiles on airfields.
Kazakhstan could became from a splinter to the nuclear superpower with the fourth nuclear arsenal, exceeding the UK and France.
But on the other hand there was future of our nation. And President Nazarbayev has made the right decision – to get rid of nuclear weapons.
No doubts, that by leaving nuclear arsenal , we would put the future of our country into question. After the collapse of the Soviet Union – the world was facing the threat of global chaos. Saving atomic arsenal would have destroyed the emerging system of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons at that moment. The emergence of a new nuclear country could be fatal for the world nuclear balance.
Initially, countries of the Commonwealth of independent States agreed to have unified control over the nuclear weapons. However, the creation of the force has failed.
Availability of nuclear weapons had pros and cons for Kazakhstan creating considerable risks for country. In March of 1992, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus were presented as countries which temporary have nuclear weapons. This decision opened further negotiations with all powerful states.
It was need to The President had to make historical decision in this hard situation. After considering and looking all risks Kazakhstan refused of nuclear weapons. Thus, President made a firm condition: nuclear powers must guarantee the safety of Kazakhstan.
On the 15th of May, 1992 in Tashkent six countries of the Commonwealth of independent States signed the Treaty of collective security, which established regional and national security and has opened the way to a nuclear-free status of Kazakhstan. The negotiations on May of 1992 in USA had the most important value which opened the beginning of multilateral, multi-vectoral Kazakhstan diplomacy.
On 23rd of May,1992 in Lisbon Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and USA signed a Protocol of the soviet-American Treat about strategic offensive arms. On Lisbon Protocol Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine committed to join the Treat about non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as States parties, which haven’t nuclear weapons. On 13th of December the Supreme Council of Kazakhstan voted for the Treat about non-proliferation nuclear weapons.
The manifestation of the desire for peace and the responsibility of Kazakhstan was also unprecedented and resonance decision of President about closing of Semipalatinsk nuclear polygon on 1991, which contributed to the positive perception of the country of world community.
On the 5th of December, 1994 at the OSCE summit in Budapest heads of Russia, USA and Great Britain signed a Memorandum a guaranteeing safety of countries, which signatories of the Treat about non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. This Memorandum meant recognition by the international community implementation of Kazakhstan of its obligations about withdrawal of the nuclear weapons.
By May 1995 nuclear weapons were exported from the territory of Kazakhstan and rocket launchers were eliminated. So Kazakhstan has fulfilled all the duties of nuclear arsenal and eliminating its infrastructure.
Kazakhstan accepted a responsible historical decision and acquired nuclear-weapon-free status . As a result of agreement with the leading powers the country received guarantee of safety, strengthened state sovereignty, territorial integrity and kept itself from external threats.
The step made by President is the manifestation of our responsibility for own nation, for world and history.
The contribution of Kazakhstan in the case of non-proliferation continues till these days. It doesn’t express only our active antinuclear position, but also new specific cases aimed to improve the system of control over the entire complex problems related with nuclear weapons and technologies.
The Republic of Kazakhstan consistently stands for the necessity of reformation the entire system of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear countries should be reduced land eventually go to gradual and ultimate destruction of the arsenal of nuclear weapons.
At the initiative of Kazakhstan The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution of 29th of August (the day of closing Semipalatinsk polygon) – the international day against of nuclear tests.
29th of August – it is also date of first nuclear explosion in Semipalatinsk polygon in1949.
So naturally, group of the deputies of Parliament of Japan has made candidacy of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to the Nobel peace prize. This step became the confirmation of the international community’s recognition of a significant contribution of Kazakhstan to the global security.
A peaceful policy of our country has become an important factor in attracting foreign investments in the economy, strengthening friendly relations with the leading countries of the world. Therefore, we can confidentially say that the universally recognized success of Kazakhstan achieved during the twenty years of independence, in main part due to the historical decision of the President of the country to withdraw from the Soviet nuclear legacy.
The UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon while visiting Kazakhstan in April 2010, in his speech on the territory of the former nuclear testing site gave a high assessment to the efforts of our country. He noted our President: achievement at reducing the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and in particular the exclusive role of the Head of our state in promotion of peace and stability in the modern world.
At the same time, we must recognize that the proliferation of nuclear weapons remains one of the on going problems of modern international relations and major threats of security.
Alongside with the traditional proliferation risks, including the implementation of the hidden nuclear programs that were new threats and challenges, of which the most dangerous is the illegal circulation of materials, technologies and equipment relevant to nuclear weapons and means of their delivery, as well as the possibility of terror acts with the use of such weapons.
The basis of the international non-proliferation of nuclear weapons remains the Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. However, in recent years we have witnessed the increasing cases of non-fulfillment of its provisions.
In the Conference on disarmament there is continuing stagnation of the negotiation process on the issues of strategic disarmament. Because of this, the parties still haven’t started negotiations on a Treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. Rather difficult situation remains around the nuclear program of individual countries.
44 states possessing nuclear technology States, a number of States have not signed the Treaty yet, but the series have not ratified yet. Therefore, Kazakhstan continues to pursue a consistent and responsible policy in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, participating actively in the initiatives in the field of nuclear safety.
In recent years, considering the continuing stagnation in the world the process of disarmament, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan made a number of fundamentally new initiatives on the adoption of the universal Declaration of nuclear-weapon-free world; as signing of the Treaty on universal horizontal and vertical non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, placing in Kazakhstan of the international nuclear fuel Bank under the auspices of the IAEA.
In the framework of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly one of the most significant was the speech of the President of Kazakhstan. The head of our state noted the necessity of broadening the legal basis and improving the international control of the UN and the IAEA for the implementation of the commitments of all countries in the sphere of non-proliferation. Also he proposed to begin the development of the universal Declaration of nuclear-weapon-free world.
These initiatives are supported by practical work in this field.
At the national level unprecedented project of transportation of 210 tones was spent nuclear fuel for saving storage. In co-operation with Russia and the United States Kazakhstan carried out activities on liquidation of consequences of the nuclear tests and rehabilitation of the territory of the Semipalatinsk polygon. Together with the IAEA has been created a unique automated system of accounting, control and physical protection of natural uranium. Kazakhstan joined the Global partnership of the countries of «Group of eight» (G8) against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Ratified the amendment to the Convention on the physical protection of the nuclear material.
Having some of the largest reserves of natural uranium in the world and actually occupying the first place in the volume of its annual production, our country intends to continue along this path, ensuring a strict control over the technology, developing peaceful nuclear cooperation with Russia, the USA, France, Japan and other countries.
As it is known, there was Summit on nuclear security in March of the current year was held in Seoul. Significant effect on the agenda of the summit has had an accident at a Japanese nuclear power plant «Fukushima». So at the forum there were actively discussed measures to ensure the safe and secure usage of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev made a fundamentally new initiatives in the field of nuclear safety at the Seoul summit. The head of the state stressed that nuclear power should be developed only with absolute guarantees of security on the basis of three main principles.
The first is universality. Necessary generalization and codification of accumulated international legal experience in the area of peaceful atom. The aim is the adoption of a legally binding standards of nuclear safety.
The second principle is transparency and efficiency. Alongside the full and operative information about any incidents at nuclear facilities require the development of clear mechanisms to respond quickly to emergencies.
Third, proposed by our President principle, equality and trust. All States should be given equal rights to access to peaceful nuclear technology, as well as the possibility to use the guaranteed reserves of the International Bank of low-enriched uranium.
The head of our state also proposed to apply the most stringent international action to the state which was the first to use nuclear weapons up to isolation and boycott of the country.
At the same time, the nuclear powers should provide States that had refused the possession of nuclear weapons, security guarantees which must be confirmed by the UN.
In the days of the summit, U.S. President Barack Obama praised the efforts of Kazakhstan in the development of international cooperation in the field of strengthening the physical and technical security in the nuclear sphere. Commenting on cooperation between the United States, Russia and Kazakhstan on the former Semipalatinsk test site, Barack Obama noted the outstanding participation and contribution of the President of Kazakhstan and its leadership in nuclear safety.
The President of Russia D. Medvedev from his part gave a high assessment to the activities of the Leader of Kazakhstan on creation of necessary conditions for cooperation among the three countries in ensuring nuclear safety.
Today, in the time of crisis and political turmoil in different regions of the world, as never before, there are important resolute steps on the way to nuclear disarmament. Requiring the consolidation and strengthening of efforts by the international community in this direction.
Common platform for building a world without nuclear weapons may serve as the idea of the First President of Kazakhstan - the Leader of the nation, Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, whose activities in this direction has earned the recognition of the international community and enshrined the global leadership of Kazakhstan in the sphere of disarmament and non-proliferation.
Today there are all grounds to speak about the fact that the President of Kazakhstan is a recognized Leader of a nuclear-free world, and the global contribution of our country and its President in the nuclear security becomes an example for the entire world community.