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Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan H.E. Mr. Mukhtar Tileuberdi at the Plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament

Date

26 Feb 2020

Sections

Europe's East
Global Europe

Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan H.E. Mr. Mukhtar Tileuberdi at the Plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament

(Geneva, February 24, 2020)

Your Excellencies,

2020 is a special year for multilateral diplomacy.

In the year of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the creation of the United Nations, as well as the 50thanniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), it is important to remind all of humanity that only by joint efforts we can achieve a world free of nuclear threats.

I would like to emphasize that 25 years ago, in 1995, the last nuclear warheads were withdrawn from the territory of Kazakhstan, and in May 1995 the remaining nuclear explosive device was destroyed at the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site. Thus, Kazakhstan became the second country to voluntarily renounce possession of nuclear weapons, after South Africa.

In his speech at the 70th session of the UN Congress in September 2015 in New York, the First President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, urged "to make the world free from nuclear weapons in the 21st century". By 2045, a hundred years after the destructive bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the creation of the UN, the world should become free from the nuclear threat.

I would like to note the Manifesto “The World. XXI Century”, proposed by the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, which offers a realistic view on the world, based on unity, not division, and on cooperation, not rivalry. There will be no winners in any modern war, everyone would be on the losing side. This becomes especially relevant in the current critical situation in the field of disarmament.

It is critically important to maintain and strengthen the Conference on Disarmament (CD) as the sole permanent multilateral forum for the negotiation in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. We urge all participants of the Conference to show political will and overcome differences to begin substantive work.

The core of the Conference is the principle of consensus. For many years this principle ensured the interests of participating States, regardless of their size or other criteria. It is consensus that will play a key role in achieving the universal character of the adopted international documents.

In order to revitalise the work of the Conference, we are ready to consider a review of working methods without any changes to the principle consensus.

We also welcome the expansion of the CD membership. I believe that the wider involvement of interested states in the disarmament process will give a new impetus to the work of the Conference.

Nuclear disarmament is the most important issue, which is generally supported by all states of the world. The complexity of this issue involves taking into account different factors in the course of negotiations.

Considering the enormous nuclear threat accumulated on the planet we all remain its hostages to unforeseen consequences. Unfortunately, today two of the three fundamental arms control treaties to which Kazakhstan was a party - the ABM Treaty and the INF Treaty - have ceased to exist. The prospects for extending START-3 remain uncertain. These developments have swung us decades back to a very dangerous red line.

On January 22, 2020, the UN Secretary General, speaking about the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” also stressed the increased nuclear threat.

The finalisation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) will help to minimize the possibility of developing illegitimate military nuclear programs, significantly improve the control of existing material, and reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism. It will be another confidence building measure towards a safer world.

It is imperative to further intensify deliberation of the Prevention of an Arms Race in Open Space (PAROS) by involving other relevant international fora. As a basis for starting negotiations in this direction, the still actual draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placing of Weapons in Outer Space can be used.

I would like to note that on November 12 last year in Nur-Sultan, in the framework of the international forum “Space Days in Kazakhstan - 2019: Baikonur - the cradle of world cosmonautics”, open expert consultations were held on the development of practical measures for PAROS.

As a member of the Semipalatinsk Treaty, together with regional partners, Kazakhstan supports the development of an international legally binding document on the provision by nuclear powers of negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapons states. The voluntary desire of states to adopt a nuclear-free status should be welcomed and encouraged in every way. Only such assurances can effectively counteract  the aspirations of non-nuclear states to possess nuclear weapons, which they see as a guarantee of their own security.

At the same time, new challenges and threats to international security should not be ignored by the state parties of the CD.

Kazakhstan firmly supports the key role of the NPT as the cornerstone of international security and calls for strict compliance by both nuclear and non-nuclear states with their obligations.

The upcoming NPT 2020 Review Conference should not only reaffirm the decisions of the previous conferences since 1995, but also set specific tasks for the next cycle.

An important foundation for the future should be the creation of new nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) and the expansion of cooperation between existing ones.

As you might know, in 2017, First President Nazarbayev put forward an initiative to convene a meeting of NWFZs representatives. In this regard, in cooperation with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, a Seminar on Fostering cooperation and enhancing consultation mechanisms among the existing nuclear-weapon-free zones was conducted in Nur-Sultan on August 28-29, 2019. Representatives of all existing NWFZs and Mongolia participated in this event.

Following the results of the Seminar, Kazakhstan, as the host country, prepared the Chair's Report, which reflected the main elements of the discussions on the development of specific permanent mechanisms for cooperation and coordination between all zones. We thank the Secretariat of the Conference on Disarmament for distributing the Report as an official document of CD.

We express our hope that the Conference launched in November 2019 in New York to create a zone free of nuclear and other types of WMD in the Middle East will be successful and subsequent sessions will lead to concrete results.

We also call for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and support the CTBTO's efforts to find new approaches to this crucial task.

On August 29, 2019, on the International Day against Nuclear Testing, Kazakhstan became a party to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We consider this Treaty as a complementary element to the NPT.

I would also like to inform that on February 15, 2020, Kazakhstan ratified the 1925 Geneva Protocol.

In his speech at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized that achieving a world free of nuclear weapons remains a top priority for our country. Nuclear weapons are no longer an advantage, but a threat to global peace and stability.

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