Kazakhstan continues to push for a nuclear-free world

24 September 2019

Kazakhstan, the Central Asian country which has renounced nuclear weapons, continued on Tuesday to urge the international community to make a nuclear-free world reality.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made the appeal in his first speech to the UN General Assembly’s annual general debate

Seventy years ago, during the Soviet era, Kazakhstan was the site of the first atomic bomb test when more than 450 nuclear devices were exploded near Semipalantinsk, today known as Semey.  

Mr. Tokayev stated that achieving a nuclear-free world has become an essential part of national identity. 

“We stem from the firm conviction that nuclear weapons are no longer an asset but a danger to global peace and stability,” he said. 

“Unfortunately, some countries still rely in their strategic defense calculations on nuclear arsenals, prompting their rivals to consider acquiring asymmetric responses but equally deadly types of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction). Leading by example, Kazakhstan works hard to alter these misperceptions.” 

Along with renouncing nuclear weapons, Kazakhstan has established a nuclear weapon-free zone in Central Asia.   

The country is also behind the adoption of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, observed annually on 29 August, the anniversary of the Semipalatinsk tests.  

“Kazakhstan believes that the current issues on Iran’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be settled only by political means, with due respect to each other’s interests and concerns,” Mr. Tokayev said.  

The President also highlighted his country’s contribution to peace and security.  The capital, Astana, has hosted 13 rounds of negotiations on the Syrian crisis.  

Regarding counter-terrorism efforts, he reported that Kazakhstan and partners this year undertook a special humanitarian mission to repatriate nearly 600 citizens from war zones in Syria. 

“We are ready to share our experience with other countries and urge them to take similar actions,” the President said.   

 

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN NEWS SPECIAL REPORT: ‘Ground Zero’ at the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan

Every year on August 29, at the initiative of Kazakhstan, the UN and its Member States mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests. This year, the Day coincides with the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb test at the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan. UN News travelled to the remote, eerily beautiful region, for this special report.