Joint Statement By The Deputy Prime Minister Of Kazakhstan And Executive Secretary Of The CTBTO
Astana, 29 August 2023
1. On this International Day against Nuclear Tests (IDANT), established by the United Nations General Assembly at the initiative of the Republic of Kazakhstan, we reaffirm our commitment to achieving a world free of nuclear tests and redouble our efforts to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force.
2. The closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site on 29 August 1991 holds symbolic significance for both Kazakhstan and the international community. This important event 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. Since then, Kazakhstan has consistently supported the Treaty and the build-up of its verification regime.
3. Over the past year, significant progress has been made towards the universalisation of the CTBT. Today, 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. This momentum builds upon the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders. Looking ahead, the 2023 Article XIV Conference offers additional opportunities to build on these achievements.
4. 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. Although not yet legally binding on an international level, adherence to the CTBT and the norm against nuclear testing has become virtually universal.
5. Kazakhstan’s practical contribution to strengthening of the CTBT verification regime is reflected in the five stations that are part of the Treaty’s International Monitoring System (IMS) managed by Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Center (NNC) – the authority responsible for overseeing operations at the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. The Director General of the NNC, Erlan Batyrbekov, is also the chairman of Working Group B of the CTBTO.
6. Furthermore, on 5 July 2023, H.E. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan signed a law that paves the way for the establishment of a nuclear safety zone at the former Semipalatinsk test site and the surrounding areas that have been affected by excessive radioactive contamination.
7. 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. As a consistent supporter of global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Kazakhstan will chair the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 11th Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT in 2024 and the third Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (date pending).
8. Today, we extend an invitation to all States to participate in the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the International Day against Nuclear Tests, scheduled to be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 29 August 2023.
9. We call upon all States to uphold and, where possible, reaffirm their existing moratoria on nuclear testing. Those States that have not yet signed and/or ratified the CTBT are encouraged to promptly do so. We urge the eight Annex 2 States that are crucial for the Treaty's entry into force to demonstrate their commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament by taking this significant step.
10. We welcome the messages by both the President of the United Nations General Assembly as well as the United Nations Secretary-General on the occasion of the International Day against Nuclear Tests and we encourage all interested stakeholders, including diplomats, academia, media and non-governmental organizations, to raise awareness regarding the catastrophic dangers and risks associated with nuclear testing.
11. The time has come to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force, creating a safer and more secure world for us and for generations to come.