Kazakhstan to host conference against nuclear tests

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Astana, Aug 29 (IANS) Coinciding with the International Day against Nuclear Tests, Kazakhstan will host on Wednesday a conference focused on the role of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in the construction of world peace.

Government representatives and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) members are to participate in the event, which has the theme “Remembering the Past, Looking forward to the Future”, Efe reported.

CTBTO executive secretary Lassina Zerbo, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and the President of the Kazakh Senate, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, are to open the conference.

In addition, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will preside over the opening ceremony of the Wall of Peace, a modern architectural element inspired by the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site 25 years ago.

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On the eve of the conference, a commemorative stamp dedicated to the ATOM Project was issued on Tuesday to promote the international campaign to bring awareness to the human and environmental devastation caused by nuclear tests and lead to their prohibition.

During an event in the Kazakh capital, the honorary ambassador of the organization, Karipbek Kuyukov, who was born without arms because of radiation from Soviet nuclear tests, Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko and Kazpost managing director Baurzhan Ainabekov presented the 0.71 euros stamp.

Under Nazarbayev’s leadership, Kazakhstan renounced all Soviet-era nuclear weapons, destroyed the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was approved by the UN General Assembly in 1996 and aims to ban all nuclear weapons testing.

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To date, the agreement has been signed by 183 states and ratified by 166, but it will not enter into force until the United States, China, Egypt, Israel, Iran, India, Pakistan and North Korea join.

On December 6, 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution highlighting the need to sign and ratify the CTBT, which was supported by 172 countries and rejected by only two — the US and North Korea.

–IANS

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