Representatives of all nuclear-weapon-free zones to meet in Kazakhstan

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan on May 3 organized at the UN Headquarters the Nuclear Discussion Forum, this time devoted to the interaction of nuclear-weapon-free zones and the application of their practical experience to create new zones in the future. The main strategic goal of the initiative is to expand the number of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the planet towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. This becomes especially relevant in the context of the destruction of the current nuclear deterrence architecture and the growing tendency for a new nuclear arms race in the world, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry reported.

This year Kazakhstan is the Coordinator of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, also known as the Semipalatinsk Treaty due to the place of its signing. This year is a jubilee one for the zone, which has been functioning for 10 years and to this day remains the only nuclear-weapon-free zone in the northern hemisphere.

Opening the Forum, the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, Kairat Umarov, told a large audience of high-level experts of the UN Member States from New York, Vienna and Geneva, as well as analytical circles and public organizations, about the features of the Central Asian zone, and also shared Kazakhstani initiatives aimed at promoting the interests of nuclear-weapon-free zones.

The Kazakh diplomat spoke about a joint project of Kazakhstan and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), on consolidating the efforts of all existing nuclear-weapon-free zones. Within the framework of this project, Kairat Umarov announced that a meeting of representatives of all nuclear-weapon-free zones is scheduled for 28-29 August of this year in Nur-Sultan to ensure better coordination of their activities.

The Ambassador of Kazakhstan noted that the inter-zonal meeting would serve as a platform to discuss the most pressing issues related to capacity building and the role of nuclear-free zones in promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. According to him, this will also be an important practical contribution to the overall preparatory process for the Fourth Conference of the States Parties to Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones, to be held in New York on April 24, 2020.

In addition, with financial support from Kazakhstan, it is planned to create the first UN specialized website, designed to become an authoritative source of complete information about all existing nuclear-weapon-free zones, including actual data on each zone, highlighting its creation, history, the challenges encountered, current activities and future action plans.

The Forum participants expressed the hope that the realization of all mentioned initiatives and proposals will contribute to establishing permanent interaction between the zones. In addition, it will help develop their consolidated position and common vision on how to generate new impetus to the process of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.

To this day, the following regions are declared as nuclear-weapon-free zones: the Antarctic region (the 1959 Treaty), Latin America and the Caribbean (the Tlatelolco Treaty of 1967), the South Pacific (the Rarotonga Treaty of 1985), South-East Asia (the Bangkok Treaty of 1995), Africa (Pelindaba Treaty of 1996) and Central Asia (Semipalatinsk Treaty of 2006). Mongolia has the status of a nuclear-weapon-free state.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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