In Kazakhstan, OSCE PA President highlights nuclear disarmament as int’l priority


ASTANA (TCA) — Building a common security system for the OSCE area based on trust and co-operation is incompatible with national security strategies based on nuclear deterrence, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen said on August 25 at the 62nd Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in Astana, Kazakhstan.

In order to advance comprehensive security, she said, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament must be high on the international agenda. Referring to recently heightened tensions between nuclear powers, she regretted that these weapons continue to be brandished and that some governments will not even agree to pledge no-first-use policies.

“We see a disconnect between what most of the world wants and the policies that a handful of nuclear powers are pursuing,” Muttonen said. She noted that at its recent Annual Session in Minsk, the OSCE PA welcomed the treaty agreed to in New York last month by 122 countries to establish an international ban against the possession, acquisition, or deployment of nuclear weapons.

“This was a declaration that the question of nuclear disarmament is not a topic exclusively belonging to the nuclear powers, but that we all should have a say in it,” Muttonen said.

In Astana on August 24, Muttonen held meetings with Kazakhstan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Religious and Civil Society Affairs, the Secretary of State and the Prosecutor General. She stressed the PA’s commitment to nuclear safety, non-proliferation and disarmament, and welcomed Kazakhstan’s leadership on these issues.

On August 25, she met with Chairman of the Senate and Head of Kazakhstan’s Delegation to the OSCE PA Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, discussing disarmament affairs and regional security challenges.

In her remarks at the Pugwash Conference, Muttonen discussed the contribution that parliamentarians can make towards advancing the goal of non-proliferation and disarmament, noting that one of the most urgent tasks is helping to boost the signing and swift ratification of the Nuclear Ban Treaty. She said that this treaty is an important step towards establishing a legal framework for the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

The PA President, who also serves as Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, stressed that the message must be sent to the nuclear powers that nuclear weapons can never be used, and that nuclear arsenals should be reduced and ultimately eliminated.

She highlighted the importance of dialogue and the role of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in providing a platform for confidence-building. “We will continue to build bridges across the OSCE region and work for a future of peace and prosperity – a future that hopefully does not include nuclear weapons,” she said.

The conference the President addressed on August 25, entitled “Confronting New Nuclear Dangers,” is taking place 25-29 August in Kazakhstan’s capital and includes the participation of OSCE PA Vice-President Azay Guliyev (MP, Azerbaijan) and Secretary General Roberto Montella.

Sergey Kwan