By Peter Jenkins CMG, Chairman, British Pugwash :-
There is not the slightest doubt that all who wish to see the world rid of nuclear
weapons and an end to war, as advocated in 1955 by Albert Einstein and Bertrand
Russell, a British philosopher, owe Kazakhstan and its First President Nursultan
Nazarbayev admiration and gratitude in ample measure.
Kazakhstan has stood out for its determination to draw attention to the risks
that weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, pose to the survival
of the human race; and Nazarbayev’s practical contributions to nuclear risk
reduction and non-proliferation have borne witness to the sincerity of his words.
In his 2016 manifesto “The World. The 21st century” he expressed grave
concern as an individual and as a statesman for the fate of future generations in a
world still poisoned by the virus of war and threatened by the continuing existence
and deployment on high alert of thousands of nuclear weapons.
Back in 1991, Kazakhstan concluded the quadripartite Almaty agreement on
Joint Measures Regarding Nuclear Weapons. This led to the removal of all nuclear
weapons from Kazakh soil and to Kazakhstan’s accession to the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State.
Also in 1991, the First President ordered the closure of the nuclear test site at
Semipalatinsk and set a course which led to Kazakhstan being an early signatory of
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and ratifying it in 2002.
Building on these achievements, Kazakhstan brought about the creation, in
2009, of a nuclear-weapon free zone in Central Asia, and the adoption by the UN
General Assembly, in 2015, of the Universal Declaration for the Achievement of a
In 2012 and 2013 Kazakhstan made a key contribution to nuclear nonproliferation by hosting talks between Iran, the United States, Europe, Russia and
China which generated, after an arduous negotiation, the Joint Comprehensive Plan
As a further contribution to non-proliferation, in 2017, Kazakhstan
inaugurated a facility which will boost the confidence of NPT parties in the
availability of fuel for power-generating nuclear reactors: the IAEA Low Enriched
Uranium Bank Storage Facility at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant.
As the First President underlined in his 2016 manifesto, and as Einstein and
Russell recognised in their 1955 manifesto, ridding the world of weapons of mass
destruction requires a parallel determination to wipe out the scourge of militarism
and to wean humankind from its addiction to war as a way of life. In the First
“To end all wars is the most challenging task for our civilization. But there is
no reasonable alternative. This task has to be treated by world leaders as the highest
priority on the global agenda. In the 21st century humanity must take decisive steps
towards demilitarization. If this objective is not achieved, our planet will end as a
graveyard of radioactive materials.”
The logical alternative to the pursuit of inter-state politics through war is the
resolution of inter-state disputes through dialogue and negotiation, on the basis of
equal responsibility for global peace and security and mutual respect. This remains
as true today as it was in 2016. But in the meantime, there has been a further erosion
of international security achievements and a weakening of the foundations of global
peace and security.
So, now more than ever is it necessary for global leaders to draw inspiration
from the words and deeds of the First President and to heed the call with which he
closes his manifesto: “listen to reason”.
Views expressed are not of The London Post