The UN Office in Kazakhstan Held a Round Table Dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of the Semipalatinsk Test Site Closure
08 September 2021
Online round table: «30th anniversary of Semipalatinsk nuclear test site closure: impact on global development, peace and security»
On September 8, 2021, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and 15th anniversary of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ) treaty the UN in Kazakhstan held the online roundtable entitled «30th anniversary of Semipalatinsk nuclear test site closure: impact on global development, peace and security».
The event was attended by UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan Michaela Friberg-Storey, Founder of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk anti-nuclear movement Olzhas Suleimenov, Ambassador-at-Large, First Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN, Ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Akmaral Arystanbekova, Director of the International Security Department, MFA of Kazakhstan Kairat Sarzhanov, CICA Executive Director Kairat Sarybay, CTBTO Executive Secretary Robert Floyd, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Beatrice Fihn, Representative of UN Women in Kazakhstan Maria Dotsenko, diplomatic corps, youth representatives and public figures.
In her welcoming speech, UN Resident Coordinator Michaela Friberg-Storey noted: "Nuclear tests caused enormous human suffering and environmental damage. Ecosystems were destroyed, which will take decades, if not centuries, to heal. This commemoration is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to outlaw all nuclear tests. There is no excuse to delay achieving this goal".
Director of the International Security Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kairat Sarzhanov noted the great political significance of the closure of the Semipalatinsk test site at the dawn of independence and highlighted a number of subsequent initiatives of Kazakhstan aimed at promoting peace and security on a regional and global scale.
Great interest of the event participants was aroused by the speech of the statesman and public figure, diplomat Olzhas Suleimenov, who spoke about the history of the creation of the world's first anti-nuclear movement "Nevada-Semipalatinsk". The sad periods in the history of Kazakhstan clearly illustrate that nuclear weapons and the consequences of their testing are incompatible with the prosperous and secure future of all mankind.
In the speech of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Akmaral Arystanbekova, it was emphasized that the historical contribution of Kazakhstan, which closed the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site by the Decree of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev, the subsequent accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear state and the voluntary renunciation of the inherited weapons, commanded deserved respect and trust in new independent Kazakhstan in the world community, which she witnessed over the years as the first Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN.
Executive Director of the Secretariat of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Kairat Sarybay noted that the CICA forum, initiated by the First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, attaches great importance to global nuclear disarmament and strengthening security in the CICA area of responsibility. In the Almaty Act of 2002, the leaders of the countries participating in the Conference recognized that disarmament and arms control, the universality of all international treaties related to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, and the promotion of non-proliferation are important for building confidence among the states of the region.
The participants of the event noted that Kazakhstan has demonstrated its political responsibility to the world community and a model of partnership with the leading nuclear powers based on mutual trust.
Dr. Robert Floyd, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and Beatrice Fihn, the Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (an organization that received the Nobel Peace Prize for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for efforts to achieve a legislative ban on such weapons), also addressed the participants with video messages.
Within the framework of the round table, special video dedicated to the tragic pages of the history of Kazakhstan - the consequences of nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk test site was presented.