Kazakhstan today urged all States that have not signed or ratified the United Nations-backed treaty banning nuclear testing to do so quickly, saying the entry into force of the pact will be an important step towards ridding humanity of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.
“For the people of Kazakhstan, who know too well all the horrors of nuclear tests, the issue of their total ban is of special relevance,” Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev told the high-level debate of the General Assembly.
“Over 40 years, some 490 nuclear explosions were carried out at the Semipalatinsk test site, affecting more than half a million people and damaging territory as big as today’s Germany,” Mr. Saudabayev said in his exhortation for the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
“The entry into force of the CTBT will become one of the key areas of effective implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), an important instrument forming a foundation for the security of all humanity,” he said.
He said his country was satisfied that State Parties to the NPT were in May able to adopt an outcome document at the end of the treaty’s review conference.
“Yet, new and more decisive steps are needed today for nuclear disarmament. An early drafting of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), which should become, along with the CTBT, an important pillar of NPT, is one such step,” Mr. Saudabayev said.
He also called for drafting of an international legally binding instrument providing security assurances by nuclear powers to non-nuclear States.
“The establishment of new zones free from nuclear weapons, including in the Middle East, would represent another step towards achieving the goal of a nuclear-free world,” Mr. Saudabayev added.
He said his country supported the right of every NPT State Party to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but stressed that such activities should be carried out in a transparent manner and on the basis of compliance with the rules of the UN International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA).
“Kazakhstan, being the world’s largest uranium producer, intends to contribute to the development of nuclear energy and is ready to host an international nuclear fuel bank, under the auspices of the IAEA, and commit itself to its safe storage,” Mr. Saudabayev added.