Kazakhstan ambition: To rid the world of war
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has unveiled perhaps his most ambitious initiative ever: to rid the world of war. With continued world anxiety about the nuclear threat posed by the rogue regime in North Korea, this is an objective that merits genuine commendation. EUreporter states in its article Kazakhstan ambition: To rid the world of war that for 40 years, Kazakhstan was a test site for nuclear weapons. The fall-out from these tests at Semipalatinsk – of which over 100 were above ground – has left a terrible legacy. A generation later, the deaths and deformities continue. Kazakhstan is a key player in any discussion about the nuclear threat: it has 12% of the world’s uranium resources. In 2009 it became the world’s leading uranium producer, with almost 28% of world production, then 33% in 2010, rising to 41% in 2014, and 39% in 2015 and 2016.
President Nazabayev ordered the closure of the Semipalatinsk site. At Kazakhstan’s urging, the date of August 29 has now been commemorated officially by the United Nations as the International Day against Nuclear Tests. Kazakhstan followed this move with an even more historic initiative when it voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal, which the country had inherited on the break-up of the Soviet Union. Indeed, by April 1995, Kazakhstan transferred all of its Soviet-era nuclear weapons to the Russian Federation. Kazakhstan also initiated a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for an International Day Against Nuclear Tests, inaugurated in 2010, in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The country, a non-permanent member of the UN security council since January this year, also supports the “Humanitarian Initiative”, which calls for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons as an assurance that they will not be used “under any circumstances.”
In April 2016, President Nazabayev took arguably his most ambitious anti-nuclear initiative yet when he launched “The World. The 21st Century”, a wide-ranging manifesto designed to end the plague of war. In a speech at the time, he said, “Nuclear weapons and the technology that produces them have spread all over the world due to double standards of the main powers. It may be just a matter of time before they fall into the hands of terrorists. International terrorism has gained a more sinister character.” He added, “It has moved from isolated acts in individual countries to a large-scale terrorist aggression across Europe, Asia and Africa. Our planet is now on the edge of a new Cold War which could have devastating consequences for all humankind. This threatens the achievements of the last four decades.”
So, what exactly does the manifesto say?
First, it says there must be gradual progress to a world free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. It also argues that the international community must build on and expand existing geographical initiatives to gradually eliminate war as a way of life. It is necessary to eliminate such relics of the Cold War as military blocs, which threaten global security and impede broader international cooperation, it adds.
A fourth recommendation is to adapt the international disarmament process to the “new historic condition”. Finally, the Manifesto states that a world without war requires primarily fair global competition in international trade, finance, and development.
President Nazabayev defends the policy by saying, “We should think hard about the future of our children and grandchildren.” We must combine the efforts of governments, politicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and millions of people around the world in order to prevent a repetition of tragic mistakes of past centuries and spare the world from the threat of a war.
A senior source at the European Commission told this website that Kazakhstan deserves “much credit for its ongoing efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons”. He added: “For the past two decades, Kazakhstan has been a strong advocate of nuclear non-proliferation and this is something that most certainly should not be under-estimated.” “The country is conducting a multi-vector foreign policy which is based on preventing war and to save the planet from nuclear weapons.” For over four decades in Semipalatinsk on the barren steppes of Kazakhstan, the Soviets detonated 456 nuclear weapons. They called this site, a vast testing area the size of Belgium, the Polygon. The last nuclear explosion here was in 1989. Today, 28 years later, villagers are still suffering the consequences of heavy radiation. Today, surely, there can be no greater example of why the international community urgently needs to throw its weight behind President Nazarbayev’s various anti-nuclear initiatives.