UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – "The Republic of Kazakhstan is a particularly illustrative example of the wisdom of relinquishing nuclear weapons," according to Rex W. Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State. He was addressing the United Nations Security Council Session on Nuclear Non-Proliferation on September 21, 2017.
"In partnership with the United States, and aided by the Cooperative Threat Reduction Act spearheaded by U.S. Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, Kazakhstan opted to remove from its territory former Soviet weapons and related nuclear technologies, and joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-weapons state," Tillerson added.
"This courageous decision by the leaders of Kazakhstan greatly reduced the prospect of nuclear weapons, components of nuclear weapons, or nuclear materials and dual-use technologies from falling into the wrong hands," the U.S. Secretary of State explained. Nuclear weapons introduced complexity into relations with other countries, and they introduced the risk of miscalculation, accident, or escalation.
Tillerson went on to say: "Kazakhstan’s actions represented a key step in that country becoming part of the community of nations. As a result of letting go of nuclear weapons, the world does not look on Kazakhstan as a potential nuclear aggressor or a rogue state. It did not make enemies of its nuclear neighbors, Russia or China. Today Kazakhstan has overwhelmingly been at peace with its neighbors, and its trade relations are robust."
He also referred to the specialised international exhibition EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital city, which showcased the sources of future energy and investment opportunities in Kazakhstan to participants from around the world. "This is a modern nation making a substantial contribution to regional and international peace and prosperity. Kazakhstan has only benefitted from its early decision."
Tillerson added: "In my previous career, I met President [Nursultan] Nazarbayev on many occasions and had the opportunity to ask him about this decision. He is more at peace with his choice than ever. He once remarked to me, 'It was the best thing I ever did for our young country.'" [IDN-InDepthNews – 22 September 2017]
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Photo (left to right): Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the US-Islamic World summit in Riyadh in May 2017. Credit: Axar.az
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