Astana, 29 August 2023 (TDI): On the International Day against Nuclear Tests (IDANT), established by the United Nations General Assembly, Kazakhstan reiterated its commitment to nuclear disarmament in a joint statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Murat Nurtleu and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Executive Secretary Robert Floyd.

The 1991 closedown of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan spurred the country’s support for the CTBT in addition to the fact that it “sent a powerful political message and played a critical role in the broader global efforts that led to the adoption of the CTBT in 1996”, said the officials.

Additionally, the joint statement outlined that significant progress has been made towards the universalization of the Treaty as the Treaty has received 186 signatures and 178 ratifications.

Notably, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, the Solomon Islands, and Sri Lanka ratified the CTBT in the last 12 months.

“We are also pleased with the ongoing progress towards the completion of the CTBT’s verification regime. Currently, 305 certified facilities are operational worldwide, out of a total of 337. This network stands as a unique global asset, contributing to peace and security, while also providing civil and scientific benefits,” they noted.

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Currently, the Treaty is not binding on an international level, however, the officials pointed out that adherence to the CTBT and the norm against nuclear testing has become virtually universal.

Kazakhstan’s Contribution to Upholding CTBT

Kazakhstan’s contribution to the strengthening of the CTBT verification regime is recognized in the joint statement.

This comes with the management of the five stations that are part of the Treaty’s International Monitoring System by the country’s National Nuclear Center (NNC).

NNC is the commission responsible for overseeing operations at the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan.

In addition to the above is the signing of a law on July 5, 2023, by President Tokayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan that allows the establishment of a nuclear safety zone at the former Semipalatinsk test site and the surrounding areas affected by excessive radioactive contamination.

The authorities also noted, “We reaffirm the CTBT’s role as a key pillar of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The CTBT represents an effective and practical measure in our pursuit of a world free from nuclear weapons tests.”

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Furthermore, the officials called upon all States to uphold, and where possible, reaffirm their existing prohibition on nuclear testing. While also urging the States that have not yet signed or ratified the CTBT to promptly do so.

In conclusion, they also encouraged all interested stakeholders, like diplomats, academia, media, and non-governmental organizations, to raise awareness regarding the catastrophic dangers and risks associated with nuclear testing.