Welcoming today’s signing ceremony in Kazakhstan of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said it marks “another step in years of effort” toward such an agreement, adding he hoped it would also move the world further toward global and regional peace and security.
“Individually and collectively, nuclear-weapon-free zones strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, reinforce global efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world, and greatly enhance global and regional peace and security. May the efforts of the Central Asian States help move us further in that direction,” Mr. Annan said in a statement read out by Yuriko Shoji, UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan.
“This signing ceremony of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty marks another step in years of effort by the five Central Asian States to agree on a Treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia.”
But he also acknowledged that some states had expressed concerns about today’s agreement and called on the five Central Asian nations to work to make sure it was effective.
“The General Assembly and the United Nations Disarmament Commission have provided clear guidelines which recommend that nuclear-weapon-free zones be worked out in close consultation with the nuclear-weapon States, so as to ensure that such agreements are effective and meaningful.”
Representatives from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan signed the Treaty in the northern Kazakh town of Semipalatinsk, near the now-defunct testing ranges where the then Soviet Union exploded more than 400 atom bombs.