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Countries should join Kazakhstan in renouncing nuclear arms, president tells UN

Countries should join Kazakhstan in renouncing nuclear arms, president tells UN

President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan
The President of Kazakhstan today called on national leaders attending the annual United Nations General Assembly’s high-level debate to follow the example set by his country by renouncing nuclear arms and enjoying the peace dividend that will ensue.

Nursultan A. Nazarbayev told the Assembly that the people of Kazakhstan, having endured over 450 blasts at the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground, “have lived through all the horrors of the effects of nuclear explosions.”

In response, the country, after gaining independence, shut down the site and renounced its nuclear arsenal – the fourth largest in the world. “Those steps have shaped the strategy of our State in the area of global security,” he said. As a result, he added, Kazakhstan “has witnessed an inflow of considerable investments.”

The President then posed a question to the assembled leaders: “Why not follow our example instead of wasting astounding amounts on the arms race?”

He said that beyond ethical, economic and other motives, legal barriers are needed to combat stop nuclear proliferation, and toward that end proposed adapting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to today’s realities.

“It should be acknowledged that the NPT has turned into an asymmetric agreement; it provides for sanctions applicable only to non-nuclear States,” he said. “If nuclear powers call for banning the development of nuclear weapons, they themselves should set an example of reduction and renunciation of nuclear arsenals.”

Currently, he observed, “That is not the case.”