New York, September 26, 2017 - A high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly was held to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres opened the event, calling on all to continue to make the world safe from the use of nuclear weapons despite persistent differences between UN Member States on the issue of nuclear disarmament. Guterres expressed the hope that the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) would make an important contribution towards a nuclear weapons-free world.
(Background: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted on July 7, 2017 with the support of 122 states, and now has been signed by 53 states. The Treaty enters into force 90 days after the deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification).
The President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan in his address during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly also called on the international community to strive for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons by 2045 - the UN's 100th Anniversary, and considered the elimination of nuclear weapons as the primary goal of humankind in the 21st century. Towards this end, at the initiative of Kazakhstan, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World on 7 December 7, 2015.
His Excellency K.Umarov then traced the disarmament history of Kazakhstan, highlighting President Nazarbayev's historic decision to close the world's second largest test site and to abandon the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world. This unprecedented act lead to many positive steps: the decision of the nuclear powers to have a moratorium on nuclear tests; the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and the desire of the regions to become nuclear weapons-free zones.
Kazakhstan shares the general concern of the UN community about the continuation of North Korea's nuclear tests. "We are deeply concerned about the nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK, the only state in the 21stcentury continuing such tests, despite the strongest condemnation from the entire international community. This should compel us to ensure the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty", said Ambassador Umarov, once again urging the eight states of Annex II of the Treaty, to ratify it without delay, so as to help impose a complete ban on nuclear tests.
The Kazakh delegation also expressed its support for the TPNW and its intention to sign it in the very near future, and also underscored the appeal of President Nazarbayev to ensure the entry into force of this newly adopted Treaty before 2020 - the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the NPT's coming into force.
A number of proposed initiatives of President Nazarbayev were announced on 29 August this year during the opening ceremony of the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank in Kazakhstan, and these were presented to the UN in New York. It was noted that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, is one of the most effective means to combat proliferation. In this connection, the Head of State also envisioned to unite the efforts of all states that constitute nuclear weapons-free zones to provide the thrust to expand such zones throughout the world. He also suggested setting into motion a global anti-nuclear movement by reviving the Nuclear Security Summits.
At the end of the plenary session, there was unanimous conviction that nuclear disarmament and the total elimination of nuclear weapons are the only absolute guarantees against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.