Global Peace and Nuclear Security
By Nursultan Nazarbayev,
President of Kazakhstan
In one month, the
anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked. There are millions in
the world who took part in the fighting in the middle of last century. The difference
between history and modernity, though, is that, as Walter Mondale wittily said,
“there would be no veterans of World War III.”
Moreover, the speed
of developments in the new century makes us look anew at old security
mechanisms, first of all relating to nuclear security. Can a small group of
politicians leading nuclear weapon states make a meaningful progress towards a
more predictable situation with weapons of mass destruction? How to establish
an effective control over nuclear technologies and at the same time guarantee
the right of sovereign states for peaceful nuclear development? How to ensure a
true, not superficial, equality in the nuclear sphere? How fully is the
potential of diplomacy used in solving the problems of nonproliferation?
I hope these and
other issues will become the focus of a serious, open and fruitful discussion
at the upcoming Global Nuclear Security Summit.
Nuclear Non-proliferation, the
Imperative of Modern Days
The threat of
uncontrolled expansion of the nuclear club is one of the most serious problems
of the 21st century. Unless the international community shows
political will, the process of proliferation of nuclear-weapon states can
become completely irreversible, with all consequences thereof.
I believe the
situation with nonproliferation is far from ideal. The Treaty on
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is not living up to the hopes pinned on
it, as it is asymmetric and provides sanctions only for non-nuclear-weapon
states. It does not have clear schemes of reaction from the IAEA and the UN to
countries’ failure to allow international inspectors access to nuclear
facilities. Last but not least, the NPT allows its participants to leave the
treaty without consequences. All these circumstances reduce the effectiveness of
That’s why, working
to strengthen the NPT and the ensuring of its universality, Kazakhstan has also put forward an
idea of developing a new universal Treaty on comprehensive horizontal and
vertical non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Such a document should guarantee
the non-use of double standards, while at the same time outlining clear
obligations of its parties and mechanisms of sanctions to its detractors.
Moreover, we are
convinced in the need of the soonest adoption of a fissile material
cut-off treaty, which could become an
important step toward strengthening the non-proliferation regime.
I would remind that
about 2,000 tons of fissile materials have already been accumulated in the
world. These stocks are not used for military purposes, but are quite usable
for producing nuclear explosive devices. Have we recognized fully that
terrorists, having laid their hands on an even primitive nuclear arsenal, could
provoke serious inter-state conflicts?
An unbiased analysis
facts confirms that Kazakhstan
is an ideal candidate for a possible International Nuclear Security Education
Centre. At such a centre all needed field exercises and theoretical workshops
could take place. The Centre would strengthen the potential of Central Asia in improving the systems of export and
intra-state control, accounting and physical protection of nuclear materials.
From Moratorium to Complete Ban
on Nuclear Tests
For the people of Kazakhstan, who
have come to know the horrors of nuclear tests, the issue of their complete ban
is especially important. This is quite natural if one were to consider that
during 40 years 450 nuclear tests were conducted at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, causing
suffering to 1.5 million people. That is why, on August 29, 1991, I did not
waver to issue a decree shutting down the Semipalatinsk
test site. It is deeply symbolic that years later the day of August 29, at Kazakhstan’s
initiative, was declared the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
Being true to a
peaceful foreign policy, Kazakhstan
successfully cooperates with the IAEA, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Krakow
Initiative, the Sanger Committee and the Global initiative to combat acts of
nuclear terrorism. In order to completely exclude the potential sales of
nuclear materials, we have set up a National Commission on Non-Proliferation of
WMD in Kazakhstan,
which oversees the entire range of issues relating to the nuclear cycle.
Kazakhstan attaches special significance to the
cooperation with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Preparatory
Commission on developing an international system of monitoring and methods of
on-site inspections. As part of this cooperation, in 2008, an integrated field
experiment on on-site inspections took place on the territory of the former Semipalatinsk test site.
We regret that some
rather influential countries still refrain from signing and ratifying this
treaty. Such a situation allows recognized nuclear states to continue with
testing nuclear weapons, and allows threshold states to pursue their own
missile and nuclear program without punishment.
In this situation,
special responsibility lies on recognized nuclear weapon states. They should
understand a simple truth: it is impossible to modernize nuclear weapons while
at the same times trying to convince developing states to renounce WMD
development programs. From that point of view, the voluntary moratorium of the
world powers on nuclear tests is an important factor, but it is clearly not
enough in the long term perspective.
I call on all states,
on whom the CTBT entry into force depends, to show political will, sign and
ratify this extremely important document. Kazakhstan welcomes the decision of
President Barack Obama to review the approaches of previous administrations to
this treaty and to submit it to the U.S. Senate for ratification. We are
convinced that the ratification by the Senate of this historic document will
make other countries follow the U.S.
Development of Peaceful Nuclear
Programs, Inalienable Rights of Sovereign States
Taking legal and
critical measures of control in the sphere on nuclear security, the
international community should not ignore the global trends in energy and high
technologies. That is why a reasonable balance is needed between global efforts
in fighting nuclear terrorism and nuclear programs, which a legitimate in the
eyes of the international law.
I believe that just
sanctions, however effective, will not be enough. Whole countries and nations
should not be driven into the corner, deprived of their legal rights for
peaceful atom and having their national dignity affected. In these complex
issues, positive stimuli and encouragement are needed. The states should find
it more economically profitable to remain within international legal realm and
develop exclusively peaceful nuclear programs.
Kazakhstan, with its major resources of natural uranium,
the required technological base, and developed infrastructure will also
exercise its legal right for the development of peaceful atomic program. We
will not limit ourselves to just being a supplier of raw materials to foreign
partners, and will seek a more decent place in the world’s technological chain.
Kazakhstan has been and remains a firm proponent of the
principle of equal access of all countries to the peaceful atom. That is why we
understand and support the idea of an international nuclear fuel bank under
IAEA auspices. I would reiterate with full responsibility that Kazakhstan is
not only ready to host such a bank on its territory, but to ensure proper
storage of nuclear fuel. I can reassure that Kazakhstan will never cross the
line separating a peaceful nuclear program from a military one.
Reduction of Nuclear Arsenals,
Real Movement toward a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World
Given that, Kazakhstan pins
special hopes on efforts by President Obama and Medvedev to conclude a new
treaty dealing with reductions in strategic weapons. We support the wish
expressed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that these agreements had a
legally binding nature and provided an opportunity for verification.
At the same time, I
believe that successes either already reached and expected in the area of
reduction of strategic nuclear weapons should not lead to complacency, let
alone to unjustified euphoria. We should not, in particular, forget that in
various regions of the planet significant stockpiles of tactical nuclear
weapons have been accumulated. I think it would be wise to include the issues
of reduction of elimination of tactical nuclear weapons on the global agenda in
the near future.
I believe the time
has come to consider the experience of regional nuclear weapons free zones, in
Latin America, South Pacific, South-East Asia and Africa, and Central
Asia. This may sound improbable but the participants of nuclear
weapons free zones have to wait for years for their recognition by recognized
nuclear states and signing of appropriate protocols. This all happens against
the backdrop of numerous statements from nuclear states on their sincere desire
to immediately discuss the issue of international legal status of nuclear
weapons free zones, providing for both negative security guarantees, and
relevant preferences for their participating states.
In conclusion, I
believe it is necessary to once again accentuate the world’s attention,
including the attention of the participants of the April nuclear security
summit, on several principles.
First, a nuclear
weapons free world is a grandiose goal which can not be reached in short
historical terms. This, however, is not a reason to delay for tomorrow what can
already be done today in the issues of nonproliferation, nuclear disarmament
and peaceful use of atomic energy.
Second, the prospects
of reaching a nuclear weapon free world depend, to the great extent, on how the
emerging international order would look like. I am convinced that true
multi-polarity is possible only democracy, as an instrument of taking into
account the interests of different sides, will be spread into the realm of
international affairs as well. Only then will small and medium-sized countries
stop viewing nuclear weapons as their main security guarantee and will ‘beat
their swords into plowshares.”
Third, real progress
toward ideals of nuclear weapon free world depends, primarily, on recognized
nuclear weapon states. It is they who should serve as examples for other
countries on issues of nonproliferation and disarmament, without the use of
Fourth, a nuclear
weapon free world can become a reality only through joint efforts of all
countries and nations, regardless of the fact whether they have or don’t have
nuclear technologies. Perhaps, there is a sense already to start discussing the
issue of adopting, in the future, a Universal Declaration of a Nuclear Weapons
Free World, which would enshrine the resolution of all states to move toward
ideals of a nuclear weapon free world step by step.
having voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal, has
been and will continue to be a reliable partner for the international community
in issues of nonproliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of atomic energy.
Our policy in these issues remains balanced, consistent and responsible.
Seventy years ago,
Winston Churchill said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed
by so many to so few.” Fortunately, the world today is not an arena of nuclear
conflicts. Yet, the world is an arena of serious contradictions. The solution
to those contradictions is in the hands of a few decision makers. In the hands
of the leaders of states, each of which carries a share of burden of
responsibility for making sure a destroyed atom does not destroy us all.