20 years ago Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the world's fourth largest nuclear arsenal, closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.
During all the years of independence our country in cooperation with other states actively works on strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. But today' realities demonstrate that if in the foreseeable future the international community fails to stop the continuing increase in the number of States possessing nuclear weapons, the concept of nuclear deterrence may finally lose its meaning.
In this connection, Kazakhstan's Secretary of State Kanat Saudabayev has told about the role and initiatives of Kazakhstan in the global nuclear non-proliferation at the 4th Annual International Conference "Nuclear Dilemmas: present and future", which was held in the Peace Palace, The Hague.
As the Secretary of State noted, since gaining independence Kazakhstan and its Leader Nursultan Nazarbayev are active adherents to the global process of non-proliferation and reduction of nuclear weapons.
"As is known, after the Soviet Union collapse our country got a huge nuclear legacy, the fourth of its destructive power in the world. During the first days of our independence foreign emissaries convinced President N.Nazarbayev to keep this deadly weapon, proposing a huge financial reward and prestige to Kazakhstan as "the first and only Muslim country having nuclear weapon," K.Saudabayev said.
He noted that a significant part of our elite of that time stood for the preservation of nuclear capacity, which, in its opinion, would suddenly bring an unknown country to a club of "nuclear powers." "Hence it is fair to outline that renouncing the nuclear weapon was a wise decision of President N.Nazarbayev," the Kazakh Secretary of State emphasized.
During 20 years of Independence Kazakhstan has made contribution into ensuring the regional and global security, reduction of nuclear threat. Over these years infrastructure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site including 200 tunnels was fully liquidated.
It is important to outline that Kazakhstan's contribution in ensuring of the non-proliferation regime is not limited to the closure of the test site and elimination of weapons of mass destruction.
In 2006 Kazakhstan became one of the founders of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) announced by Russia and the USA. In 2007 the third meeting of the Initiative's member states held in Astana.
In March, 2009, the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ) treaty entered into force. "It is the only zone in the world, on the territory of which there was located nuclear weapon in the past. Kazakhstan and the region's states confirmed their adherence to the principles of disarmament and non-proliferation," the Kazakh Secretary of State said.
Having one of the largest reserves of natural uranium in the world and taking the first place in its production, Kazakhstan stands for development of the peaceful nuclear energy under the IAEA safeguards and supports international efforts on strengthening security of the nuclear fuel cycle and elimination of the risks of fissile materials proliferation.
In this connection, in April, 2009, President N.Nazarbayev announced Kazakhstan's readiness to locate an international bank of nuclear fuel under the IAEA auspices on its territory. "Today our official proposal is under consideration of this organization. We think that Kazakhstan's candidacy best meets all possible requirements of the country, to which the international community can trust such a bank. "We are convinced under the good will of all countries interested in the safe development of peaceful nuclear energy and this idea will be embodied and the international community will have one more effective mechanism of the non-proliferation system," K.Saudabayev said.
In opinion of the Kazakh Secretary of State, now it is time to radically strengthen the regime of non-proliferation and reduction of weapons of mass destruction. As is known, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is a product of the Nuclear Deterrence Doctrine which was formed in the 'cold war'.
In his opinion, all the complex of agreements that regulate this sphere should be aimed at the global events, responsibility of all states for reduction of nuclear weapons, elimination of their arsenals.
In particular, Kazakkhstan stands for early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
"The world should join efforts to revive chances of this treaty existence as a measure of deterrence of the nuclear weapon spread. We should convince nine countries which still neither sign nor ratified the treaty to do it, and without their participation it is meaningless and is not valid," K.Saudabayev said.
Our country considers that early start-up of the talks on development of the Treaty Banning the Production of Fissile Material for Use in Nuclear Weapons or Other Nuclear Explosive Devices is important.
Moreover, according to the Kazakh Secretary of State, the most important and principle proposal of Kazakhstan suggests strengthening and giving effectiveness to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The world should recognize that the Treaty became asymmetric, providing sanctions only against non-nuclear states.
"Calling for a ban on developing nuclear weapons, nuclear powers should become an example of reduction and renunciation of nuclear arsenal," K.Saudabayev emphasized.
In this connection, in his opinion, if in the foreseeable future the international community fails to stop the continuing increase in the number of States possessing nuclear weapons, the concept of nuclear deterrence may finally lose its meaning.
"Hence President Nursultan Nazarbayev initiated development of a new universal treaty on vertical and horizontal non-proliferation of nuclear weapons at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington and called the UN to adopt the Universal Declaration of Nuclear-Free World which reflected decision of all states to move forward to a nuclear-free world step by step," K.Saudabayev said.