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Kazakhstan is frontrunner in peacekeeping initiatives

Closure of the Semipalatinsk Test Site, IAEA LEU Bank, ATOM Project, Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone

The Semipalatinsk Test Site, also known as “The Polygon”, once was the largest nuclear weapons testing site (456 nuclear tests total) in the period of the Soviet Union. It greatly affected peoples’ health, causing the high mortality rate, oncological diseases, as well as left the land useless for many years to come. After its closure in 1991, thanks to the anti-nuclear movement and former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country started to seek the ways to fully eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide and disseminate peacekeeping initiatives to ensure the global security.

Kazakhstan is the world leader in the area of nuclear weapons non-proliferation, and it continues to call on the nuclear powers to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In the wake of the agreement between Kazakhstan and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA LEU Bank was set up. The Bank supplies IAEA states with nuclear fuel for their atomic energy. This once again cemented Kazakhstan’s role in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, showcasing the country’s commitment to the global security.

The First Kazakh President, Nursultan Nazarbayev: “Kazakhstan is the IAEA reliable partner, the only UN body accountable for peaceful atomic energy”.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests marked 29 August was endorsed by the UNGA resolution as of December 2, 2009. The draft resolution on this issue was proposed by Kazakhstan, with 26 countries sponsoring it.

The Nazarbayev Center of Kazakhstan-initiated international campaign ATOM (“Abolish Testing. Our Mission”) is a major objective to build international support for the abolishment of nuclear testing. The project aims at consolidating the world community of civil society to take more efficient actions to combat the nuclear threat by signing the petition. The online petition calls on the leaders of the leading countries to promptly ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Kazakhstan was among the first countries to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty bans nuclear weapons to their total elimination. Passed on 7 July 2017, the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities.

Kazakhstan played a significant role in the creation of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ) treaty, which legally obliges Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons in a bid to achieve full nuclear disarmament. The treaty was signed on 8 September 2006 at Semipalatinsk Test Site. All five Permanent Members of the Security Council (also the five NPT nuclear weapons states) signed the Protocol to the treaty on May 6, 2014, which provides legally binding assurances not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against CANWFZ Treaty parties.

The treaty entered into force on 21 March 2009.

Statement by N. Nazarbayev at the 70 UN General Assembly in New York

Addressing the 70th UNGA session, first Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev outlined that Kazakhstan supports all initiatives aimed at restoring trust in international relations, strengthening peace and security based on the international right.

Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed to elaborate the 2045 Global Strategic Initiative Plan to give the world a new trend of development based on fair conditions of access of all nations to the world infrastructure, resources and markets as well as the common responsibility for human development.

First, Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed to restructure the United Nations Economic and Social Council into the Global Development Council, on which in additional to UNGA-selected member States all heads of UN specialized institutions, including the International Monetary Fund could sit, with it acting as the global economic regulator, and its projects to be global economic growth points.

“The 21st century needs new quality financial instruments. UN member states should act as one to come up with the supranational world currency in comply with the goals and objectives of global sustainable development and prosperity”, N. Nazarbayev stated in his speech.

Secondly, Nursultan Nazarbayev called for setting the building a world free of nuclear weapons as the main goal of humanity in the 21st century.

“I propose to adopt the UN Universal Declaration on Achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons. It is necessary to create nuclear-free zones in other parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, and the nuclear powers need to provide guarantees not to use force against the countries that have renounced nuclear weapons”, Yelbasy continued. 

Thirdly, the main challenge was the erosion of international law and reduction of global institutions’ role.

“It is important to outline that the UN Charter was written through the blood of millions of victims of world wars and armed conflicts. And any violation of its paragraphs, in particular relating to sovereignty and territorial integrity of states leads humanity to a re-run of tragic events of the past”, the first Kazakh President noted.

The arbitrary application of sanctions, which is contrary to the UN Charter and norms of international law, shall be excluded. Nursultan Nazarbayev told that the right to apply international sanctions affecting the wellbeing of millions of people shall be the exclusive prerogative of the Security Council. Failure to do so undermines the fundamentals of the modern world order and is the vestiges of cold war.

Fourthly, the threat of terrorism and religious extremism has assumed global dimensions. Nazarbayev proposed to establish a uniform world network against international terrorism and extremism under the auspices of the United Nations, calling for developing and adopting a UN comprehensive document against terrorism to this end.

Fifthly, to support the UN’s initiative “Sustainable energy for all” and following EXPO 2017 exhibition held in Astana, Nazarbayev proposed to open the International Green Technology and Investment Projects Development Center under the aegis of the UN based on the infrastructure of EXPO 2017.

The creation of the NEW FUTURE concept under the aegis of the UN could be the milestone in implementing the 2045 Global Strategic Initiative Plan.

“It is necessary to lay out the tasks of a new stage of human development 70 years after the UN establishment”, Nazarbayev said.

NEW FUTURE means nuclear, energy, water and food security, trust, mutual understanding and reforms. Kazakhstan continues its mediation efforts to reconcile conflicting sides throughout Eurasia. 

Nursultan Nazarbayev underlined that the center of development is shifting to Asia, which is a home for the two-thirds of the world population and possesses vast resources, and proposed to consider the relocation of the UN headquarters to Asia.

Talks on Iranian Nuclear Programme in Almaty, Syrian Peace Talks in Astana

Iran and six world powers, five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany began talks in the Kazakh city of Almaty, putting the Iranian nuclear programme on the table. The talks lasted for two days (26-27 February 2013). It was the fourth subsequent round as the previous three ones in Istanbul (14 April), Bagdad (23-24 May) and Moscow (18-19 June) in 2012 ended without any tangible breakthroughs.

The decision to host the round of talks in Almaty stemmed from Kazakhstan’s stance.

Such an initiative demonstrated Kazakhstan’s willingness to mediate and provide a venue to find consensuses.

It was agreed by the negotiators that Iran would respond to a revised proposal introduced by world powers which called on Tehran to suspend its enrichment of uranium and disable the underground Fordow facility in exchange for limited sanction relief.

At that point, the Iranian side demonstrated little readiness to accept those proposals unless its right to develop peaceful nuclear programmes was recognized.

Another initiative of first Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev contributed to the settlement of the Syrian conflict. The Kazakh capital held Syrian Peace Talks rounds. As all the parties involved viewed Astana as neutral, the capital was chosen to hold an international meeting on Syrian settlement.

The Astana talks aimed to support the framework in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and resulted in an agreement between Iran, Russia, and Turkey to form a joint monitoring body to work to enforce the Resolution 2254 ceasefire.

The Manifesto “The World. 21st Century”

After President Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed the 6th Nuclear Summit held in Washington with the Manifesto "The World. The 21st Century", it gained the official document status of the Security Council and the General Assembly. The Manifesto centers on the call for dialogue, offering an ambitious and realistic vision on the world based on the unity, cooperation.

In the Manifesto, Nursultan Nazarbayev expresses his concern about the fate of future generations in the 21st century, calling for listening to reason and doing everything possible to spare humanity from the threat of war. The Manifesto sets out the basic principles and concrete algorithms of the new global security enabling to respond collectively to the threats, settle regional conflicts, put an end to nuclear weapons development, remove the causes for a new world war. The proposal calls for the need to establish the sustainable world geography in the 21st century by gradually rooting out a war as the means of existence. 

Kazakh peacekeepers in Iraq, Lebanon

Kazakhstan sent a demining engineering unit of the Kazbat battalion to the peacekeeping mission in Iraq. There were executed nine rotations over the period of the mission, involving 290 Kazakh soldiers as part of the coalition forces. The contingent’s main task was to search and demolish unexploded ordnance, clean water and provide first aid.

The Iraqi leadership was hugely grateful to Kazakhstan for having taken part in the “Iraqi Freedom” operation since 19 August 2003.  

Political leaders of the Coalition’s leading states many times commended Kazakhstan’s contribution to the settlement of the situation, security and peace-building in Iraq.

Late last year 120 militaries of the Kazakh peacekeeping battalion left for the Lebanese Republic to join the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon mission as part of the Indian battalion, which is the first participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Kazakh peacekeepers were involved in patrolling the areas, organizing observer posts and supervising ceasefire.

This definitely contributed to the global security and strengthened Kazakhstan's authority as a responsible member of the international community, as well as in light of its non-permanent membership in the UNSC.

The first group of Kazakh peacekeepers has already returned back after their successful mission in the Lebanese Republic.

Anti-terrorist training sessions

The joint anti-terrorist training involving SCO member countries named “Peaceful mission-2014”. This is a large-scale training event by SCO member states in the field of security.

The training aims at coordinating actions of the states in combating terrorism, extremism and separatism. The SCO Charter passed 7 June 2002 determines terrorism, extremism and separatism as “three evils”, and the fight against them as the Organization’s one of the major objectives.

Since the SCO establishment, the “Peaceful mission” training has been held since 2007 with the active involvement of Kazakhstan.

The training “Steppe Eagle-2014” once gathered peacekeeping soldiers from Tajikistan, USA, Germany, Kyrgyzstan and Great Britain, with 150 Kazakh soldiers as part of the peacekeeping battalion.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization-held training session once a year gathers soldiers from its member states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, Belarus and Armenia), encouraging joint preparation and exchange of experiences.

Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions

Kazakhstan is a unique model of interethnic and interconfessional dialogue. The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions takes places once in three years in the capital city of Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. First Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev initiated the Congress 15 years ago.

Over 15 years of its existence, since 2003, the Congress has tuned into the main dialogue platform to deal with the issues of inter-confessional and inter-religious relations in the international community, combating religious extremism and terrorism.

It brings together leaders of world and traditional religions, delegations of spiritual leaders of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, representatives of different religious and public organizations from various countries.

Once in three years it covers different topics. The Congress’s first forum focused on dealing with terrorism and extremism issues.

During the 2nd Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a joint Declaration calling on representatives of all religions to resolve conflict situations through peaceful dialogue was adopted.

Summarizing the above, Kazakhstan sets a good example in the area of nuclear weapons combat. So far, the country has put forward a great deal of initiatives to maintain peace throughout the world. Once for many years suffered from nuclear weapons bombings, these days Kazakhstan is on the road to build a world free of any mass destruction weapons. The country is already in the forefront of the efforts to maintain the global security.

Adlet Seilkhanov

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