Kazakh leader urges all nations to get rid of nukes

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev (RIA Novosti/Ekaterina Shtukina)
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has said that the current situation with nuclear non-proliferation in the world was unjust and called upon all countries to get rid of nuclear weapons.

­Nazarbayev suggested in a special address to the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations that all countries begin working on a joint declaration of a nuclear-free world.

“We suggest starting the development of the universal declaration of a nuclear-free world. It is necessary to broaden the legal basis and to increase the international control over the countries’ obligations in the non-proliferation sphere performed by the UN and the IAEA,” the address reads.

The text of the statement was distributed by the presidential press service on Thursday.

Nazarbayev said that his country welcomed the treaty between the United States and Russia on stage-by-stage cuts in nuclear potentials and added that it was important that all other countries of the “Nuclear club” joined this process.

“A paradoxical situation has established in the world. Some countries are allowed to have nuclear weapons and others are strictly forbidden even to develop them. This is not just, not proportional and not honest. These articles of international law should be reconsidered,” the Kazakh leader said.

Nazarbayev also said that the responsibility of all nations to cut nuclear weapons and gradually destroy them completely should be increased, especially for those nations who actually possess such weapons. 

“Today, the states that possess nuclear weapons provide no legal guarantees to the non-nuclear countries. The non-proliferation treaty is not working in this important direction. At the present stage, nuclear weapons are not a deterring factor, but rather a catalyst for an arms race,” Nazarbayev said.

The Kazakh president stressed that the universal control over nuclear weapons can now only be exercised by a collective body with broad powers, such as the UN Security Council. “I suggest that the international community approves a collective address to the countries that de-facto possess the nuclear weapons with a call to give up all nuclear ambitions,” Nazarbayev said.

The Republic of Kazakhstan inherited a large part of Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal and was among the world’s largest nuclear powers when it declared independence in 1991. However, the country signed a non-proliferation treaty and voluntary transferred all nuclear weapons to the Russian Federation, as did the other former Soviet Republics that possessed them. The country still has a research nuclear reactor, but all spent fuel from it is being handed over to the IAEA.