Kazakhstan’s policy in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is defined by the country’s foreign policy based on the commitment to strengthen international security, develop cooperation between states, and increase the role of international organizations in resolving global problems and conflicts.
The policy followed by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, aimed at rescuing mankind from nuclear weapons and strengthening the WMD non-proliferation regime, has earned the recognition of the international community and consolidated the global leadership of Kazakhstan in the sphere of disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear security.
The first step, which has laid the foundation for the future nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation policy of Kazakhstan, was the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site during the Soviet Union’s period on 29 August 1991. It was the first time in the world history that the closure of the nuclear test site was done by the people’s will. Eighteen years later the UN General Assembly announced this date as the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
In 1991 heads of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine in the Almaty Declaration on Strategic nuclear forces defined the mechanism of joint control over functioning of a nuclear arsenal of the former USSR to bar any failures in maintenance of a due level of nuclear safety and confirmed adherence to international obligations of the USSR in the field of reduction of strategic offensive arms.
On 23 May 1992, in Lisbon representatives of the given countries and the USA signed the five-sided Protocol specified the sphere of their responsibilities for realization of regulations of the Treaty between the USSR and the USA on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms (Start Treaty) with reference to those Strategic Nuclear Forces placed in territory of the four states. The Lisbon Protocol also contained obligations of Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to join the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the countries not possessing the nuclear weapon.
On 13 December 1993, the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Kazakhstan ratified the NPT. Kazakhstan’s joining the NPT was an important stage in realization of country’s foreign policy. As a member of the NPT, Kazakhstan strictly adheres to obligations of the Treaty, a unique multilateral agreement in the field of control over nuclear weapons obliging members to undertake measures on nuclear disarmament.
On 5 December 1994, at the OSCE Budapest summit Russia, the USA, Great Britain signed the Memorandum of Security Assurances in connection with Kazakhstan’s Accession to the NPT as a denuclearized state. This document recognized Kazakhstan’s full and strict performance its obligations on complete withdrawal of nuclear weapon from its territory. China and France also assured Kazakhstan of their security guarantees.
On 8 September 2006, Kazakhstan along with other Central Asian countries signed the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty in Semipalatinsk, which is an important collective contribution to the strengthening of global and regional security. The states in the region expressed their firm commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation principles, and open cooperation to resolve one of the most pressing problems of today. On 21 March 2009, after the deposit of ratification instruments to the depositary (the Kyrgyz Republic), the Treaty entered into force. On 6 May 2014, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia all signed the Protocol to the Semipalatinsk Treaty at the margins of the NPT PrepCom in New York.
In December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests. This day was proposed by Kazakhstan as it marks both the closure of the former Soviet Semipalatinsk Test Site in 1991 in modern-day Kazakhstan and the date of the first Soviet nuclear test conducted there in 1949.
Kazakhstan also initiated The ATOM Project (Abolish Testing. Our Mission) [link - http://www.theatomproject.org/]. The objective of this initiative is to mobilize the international community to raise awareness of the nuclear threat and to press for action to end it. Already, around 200,000 people from more than 100 countries have signed The ATOM Project’s online petition to global leaders demanding progress in CTBT ratification.
Supporters and followers of the ATOM project are urged to sign a petition to stop nuclear weapon tests. With your support the ATOM Project can become an influential campaign aimed to change the world and to secure the future for the following generations.
In the year of the Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in 2015, the UN GA on the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev, has adopted the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free-World. Supported by an absolute majority of the UN member states, it served as an important step towards the adoption of the legally binding international document for the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
THE CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMANT (CD)
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was established in 1979 as a result of the first Special Session of the General Assembly on Disarmament held a year earlier in New York. It is a single multilateral negotiating forum on disarmament comprising of 65 member States. The UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) functions as the CD’s Secretariat. All decisions of the CD are adopted by consensus among its member states.
The Conference and its predecessor bodies have been the venue for the negotiation of major international treaties in the field of disarmament, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968), the Biological Weapons Convention (1972), the Chemical Weapons Convention (1992) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (1996).
Kazakhstan joined the CD in 1999 and in May-June 2014 acted as President of the Conference. The Republic of Kazakhstan considers the Conference on Disarmament as an exclusive and irreplaceable multilateral negotiating platform in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.
Mr. Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan addressed the Conference on Disarmament in March 2015 [link – http://unog.ch/80256EDD006B8954/(httpAssets)/9CFDD9B5E0D82D59C1257DFE0048A141/$file/1346+Kazakhstan.pdf]. In 2016 the Message to CD was delivered by Mr. Alexei Volkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan.
In 2011 - 2013 Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan was the Secretary General of the Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of UN Secretary-General to the Conference on Disarmament.
THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (BWC)
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC) became the first international treaty on disarmament, banning the production of an entire category of weapons. The Convention was opened for signature in April, 1972 and entered into force in March, 1975.
2015 therefore marks the 40th anniversary of the Convention. This milestone in the life of the Convention had been marked by a special commemorative event which took place on 30 March 2015 in the Council Chamber of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, which is where the BWC was originally negotiated.
Kazakhstan ratified the Convention in May, 2007. The BWC currently has 173 States Parties and 9 Signatory States. Since the entry of the Convention, seven review conferences have taken place. The next 8th Review Conference will take place on 7-25 November 2016 in Geneva.
THE CONVENTION ON CERTAIN CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS (CCW)
Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects is also usually referred to as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Convention, or the «Inhumane» Weapons Convention (CCW) was adopted on the 10 October 1980 and opened for signature on the 10 April 1981. It entered into force on 2 December 1983.
The CCW seeks to prohibit or restrict the use of certain conventional weapons which are considered excessively injurious or whose effects are indiscriminate. It contains a framework treaty, which sets out procedure and the basic agenda, and five protocols that regulate specific conventional weapons:
Protocol I. Non-Detectable Fragments;
Protocol II. Mines, Booby-traps, other devices; Amended Protocol II;
Protocol III. Incendiary Weapons;
Protocol IV. Blinding Laser Weapons;
Protocol V. Explosive remnants of war.
Kazakhstan ratified the Convention and its I, III and IV Protocols in February, 2009. The CCW currently has a total of 121 States parties and 5 signatories. The 5th CCW Review Conference will take place on 12-16 December 2016 in Geneva.