30 August, 2018

Lassina Zerbo speaks about importance of Astana CTBTO Conference

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Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Lassina Zerbo, noted that the issue of nuclear weapons had global and intergenerational significance. Mr. Zerbo said this at the International CTBTO Conference Recalling the Past, Looking to the Future, which takes place in Astana and Kurchatov from August 28 to September 2.

“Almost 70 years ago, on 29 August 1949, the Soviet Union detonated its first nuclear explosive device at the Semipalatinsk test site. Over the next forty years, 456 nuclear explosive tests were conducted at Semipalatinsk, with dire consequences both for the people and for their environment. On 29 August 1991, President Nazarbayev permanently closed the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site. Leadingbyexample, Kazakhstan also voluntarily renounced the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Today, equally thanks to Kazakhstan, 29 August marks the International Day against Nuclear Tests,” the head of the organization said.

Mr. Zerbo assured the participants in the diligent daily work of the CTBTO to prevent nuclear tests. He highlighted the unique nature of the Astana Conference of the Organization, since Astana brought togetherfor the first time the Group of Eminent Persons and the CTBTO Youth Group. Together, these groups discuss how to join their forces to advance the entry into force of the CTBT and ensure a more inclusive global security architecture.

“As highlighted by President Nazarbayev, the effects of nuclear weapons and nuclear testing cannot be contained in either time or space. They are a global issue which requires global and intergenerational cooperation,” the Executive Secretary noted.

Mr. Zerbo expressed the hope that the Astana Conference would give serious impetus to the further advancement of the CTBT. “The Conference will touch upon the burning issues of the day such as the 2019 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the NPT, or the situation on the Korean Peninsula. We would also talk about Kazakhstan's leading efforts to promote the prohibition of nuclear testing,” he said.

The Conference program will continue with the visit of the CTBTO delegation to the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Institute of Geophysical Research and other facilities in Kurchatov.

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