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Rex Tillerson: Kazakhstan 'particularly illustrative example of the wisdom of relinquishing nuclear weapons'
Central Asia | politics | 14:23, 22 September 2017 | 859

AKIPRESS.COM - United Nations Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson in his remarks at the United Nations Security Council Session on Nuclear Non-Proliferation on September 21 in New York praised the efforts of Kazakhstan in relinquishing nuclear weapons.

Tillerson in his remarks said the Republic of Kazakhstan is a particularly illustrative example of the wisdom of relinquishing nuclear weapons.

"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. 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. Nuclear weapons introduced complexity into relations with other countries, and they introduced the risk of miscalculation, accident, or escalation," he said.

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. This year, it hosted World Expo 2017, an event in Astana, which showcased the sources of future energy and investment opportunities in Kazakhstan to attendees 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.

"In my previous career, I met President 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," he said.

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