Nuclear Discussion Forum at the UN: Representatives of all nuclear-weapon-free zones to meet in Nur-Sultan
NEW YORK. KAZINFORM In the margins of the Third session of the NPT Preparatory Committee, the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan organized at the UN Headquarters the Nuclear Discussion Forum, this time devoted to the actual topic of the interaction of nuclear-weapon-free zones and the application of their practical experience to create new zones in the future.
The main strategic goal of the initiative is to expand the number of nuclear-weapon-free zones on the planet towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. This becomes especially relevant in the context of the destruction of the current nuclear deterrence architecture and the growing tendency for a new nuclear arms race in the world, the Kazakh MFA's press service reports.
This year Kazakhstan is the Coordinator of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, also known as the Semipalatinsk Treaty due to the place of its signing.This year is a jubilee one for the zone, which has been functioning for 10 years and to this day remains the only nuclear-weapon-free zone in the northern hemisphere.
Opening the Forum, the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, Kairat Umarov, introduced a large audience of high-level experts of the UN Member States from New York, Vienna and Geneva, as well as analytical circles and public organizations, about the features of the Central Asian zone, and also shared Kazakhstani initiatives aimed at promoting the interests of nuclear-weapon-free zones.
First of all, the Kazakh diplomat spoke about a joint project of Kazakhstan and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), on consolidating the efforts of all existing nuclear-weapon-free zones.Within the framework of this project, Kairat Umarov announced that a meeting of representatives of all nuclear-weapon-free zones is scheduled for 28-29 August of this year in Nur-Sultan to ensure better coordination of their activities.
The Ambassador of Kazakhstan noted that the inter-zonal meeting would serve as a platform to discuss the most pressing issues related to capacity building and the role of nuclear-free zones in promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. According to him, this will also be an important practical contribution to the overall preparatory process for the Fourth Conference of the States Parties to Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones, to be held in New York on April 24, 2020.
In addition, with financial support from Kazakhstan, it is planned to create the first UN specialized website, designed to become an authoritative source of complete information about all existing nuclear-weapon-free zones, including actual data on each zone, highlighting its creation, history, the challenges encountered, current activities and future action plans.
Ioan Tudor, Head of the WMD Branch of UNODA, in his opening remarks thanked Kazakhstan for its activity and firm commitment to achieving a nuclear-free world.
The key speakers of the Forum - Gauhar Mukhatzhanova, Director of International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Monterey Institute of International Studies, and Tariq Rauf, former Head of the Verification and Security Policy of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - shared their valuable assessments and practical experience on the issues of creating and developing nuclear-weapon-free zones.
The Forum participants expressed the hope that the realization of all mentioned initiatives and proposals will contribute to establishing permanent interaction between the zones. In addition, it will help develop their consolidated position and common vision on how to generate new impetus to the process of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
Reference:To this day, the following regions are declared as nuclear-weapon-free zones: the Antarctic region (the 1959 Treaty), Latin America and the Caribbean (the Tlatelolco Treaty of 1967), the South Pacific (the Rarotonga Treaty of 1985), South-East Asia (the Bangkok Treaty of 1995), Africa (Pelindaba Treaty of 1996) and Central Asia (Semipalatinsk Treaty of 2006). Mongolia has the status of a nuclear-weapon-free state.