STATEMENT by Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan Kairat Umarov at the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate the 10th International Day against Nuclear Tests

Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,

Today we are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the International Day against Nuclear Tests. Indeed, 10 years ago, the UN Member States unanimously supported the initiative of Kazakhstan to establish this day.

It was this day 70 years ago when the first Soviet nuclear bomb was tested in my country. Again, on the same day in 1991, a unilateral decision was taken by my then President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, to officially close the Semipalatinsk test site.  It still remains an unprecedented action, since no other nuclear test sites have been officially closed. 

A declared moratorium on nuclear tests does not keep humanity safe from testing. This decision can be reversed at any time. Seeing the current geopolitical realities, we feel the increased threat of the resumption of the nuclear arms race that could lead to a new cycle of nuclear testing. The tenuous situation seriously undermines our efforts to establish a final ban on nuclear weapons.

I am very grateful to Madame President Espinosa for convening the meeting today to revamp our joint efforts for a nuclear-weapon-free world to accelerate Agenda 2030.

All Member States must intensify, consolidate and activate their work to complete what has been started.

First of all, we must tirelessly continue pressing for the entry into force of the CTBT, which is a most illustrative example of mutual trust and confidence.

Secondly, we should struggle for a complete ban on nuclear weapons. This 29 August, Kazakhstan deposited its ratification document to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We call on others to follow us. The 122 States that voted in favor of this historic Treaty in July 2017, must reaffirm their position in practice.

Thirdly, Member States should resolutely take more vigorous steps to commence a dialogue on the future of our planet, and this discourse will be effective and successful if, first of all, the nuclear powers will be on board.

Previously, the largest powers have always assumed responsibility for the tomorrow of humankind. In the current situation, when they place their national interests and security in the forefront, the archaic concept of strategic stability based on nuclear weapons should be revised. 

Weapons of mass destruction cannot be the best deterring tool. As noted in the Manifesto of Nursultan Nazarbayev “World. The 21st Century”, any force gives rise to a new force. And this endless race, be it in the nuclear field or in conventional weapons, will continue ceaselessly unless a political will to stop it prevails. Therefore, the Global Coalition of States for peace, stability, trust and security under the auspices of the UN should totally oppose the archaic system of military blocs.

The tragic pages of Kazakhstan's nuclear history are a vivid example of the fact that nuclear weapons and their consequences are incompatible with the safe and secure future of humankind. Our story is also a clear appeal for the early entry into force of the CTBT so that no one in the world will have to repeat and suffer our destiny again. Up till now 1.5 million people in Kazakhstan are still suffering from nuclear tests. What is the most horrific is that the third and fourth generations of those exposed to radiation, are being affected.

Celebrating the International Day serves not only to recall the tragic consequences of nuclear weapons, but also to recognize and support all ongoing global efforts towards global zero. 

This year our capital Nur-Sultan on 29 August hosted the biennial Award Ceremony of the Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World and Global Security. The prize was given to Dr. Lassina Zerbo and the late Dr. Yukia Amano for their notable achievements and tireless efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and maintain global security. 

The initiator of this Prize, Nursultan Nazarbayev, noted the special contribution of the former Director General Amano to many historic landmark achievements of the IAEA, including the creation of International Nuclear Fuel Bank in Kazakhstan. He also emphasized the efforts of Dr. Zerbo to strengthen the verification regime and establish the CTBT International Monitoring Network.

We once again congratulate Dr. Lassina Zerbo and hope that he will continue his rigorous drive so that the CTBT will soon enter into force. This is not only his task, but also our common goal and responsibility. 

On 29 August, another equally important event was also held in Kazakhstan. That is an International Seminar on Fostering Cooperation Among Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones. This event, co-organized jointly by UNODA and Kazakhstan, is a very significant contribution towards consolidating all the existing nuclear-weapon-free zones, uniting their positions, and strengthening their role in nuclear disarmament. 

These issues are among the main priorities of Kazakhstan’s anti-nuclear thrust, as well as one of the important items of the Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda.  Unfortunately, the Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone is still the last of its kind and the only one in the northern hemisphere, and we see the need for many more. We therefore advocates te expanding such zones, primarily in the Middle East.

Mr. President,


Today’s plenary is another reminder to all, of the key noble objective of the UN conceived in 1945. We hope that by 2045, the centenary of the UN, the world will finally get rid of the nuclear threat and our children will live in a safe and truly stable world.

Thank you.

UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Created at : 9.09.2019, 14:45, Updated at : 9.09.2019, 14:45