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Key world powers need to end double standards on nuke weapons, says Kazakh president

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev addresses the 62nd U

New Delhi : Reaffirming his country’s commitment to realizing a world free of nuclear weapons and urging the international community to consider this goal as the main objective of humanity in the 21st century. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev used the platform of the recently held Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington to question the double standards of some world powers on the issue of creating and maintaining their respective nuclear arsenal, while urging other nations to destroy theirs.

Warning that the risk of conflict has increased globally over the past few decades, President Nazabayev maintained that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons has not fulfilled its purpose, and added that It may be just a matter of time before these weapons fall into the hands of terrorists.

“International terrorism has gained a more sinister character. It has moved from isolated acts in individual countries to a large scale terrorist aggression across Europe, Asia and Africa. The exodus of millions of refugees, the destruction of sites and historic monuments has become an everyday reality. Economic sanctions and trade wars are commonplace. Our planet is now on the edge of a new Cold War which could have devastating consequences for all humankind. This threatens the achievements of the last four decades,” he warned.

However, he said, that he was happy to note that the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia have been reduced substantially and that the dive nuclear powers have announced and kept a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. This, he said, had been made possible only through several rounds of negotiations.

He also spoke about the accelerated formation of regional security systems, and in particular made a mention of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which he described as a unique and comprehensive security structure created on principles of mutual trust.

President Nazarbayev further said that while there is coordinated action between the world powers and UN peacekeeping operations that has seen the end of many conflicts, the international community nevertheless is witnessing an erosion of these “international security achievements”.

He said that there is every possibility of a new long-term confrontation because of the existing tensions and jostling for power around the globe.

He asked, “Which country could be the next victim of the so-called ‘proxy-wars’ between the world and regional powers? Which territory, flourishing for now, will be torn apart by tank tracks and explosive shells? In which cities will children die from heavy rocket fire? From where and where to will the refugees fleeing conflicts migrate next?”

During his address, he made a specific mention of two prominent scientists – Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell – who more than 60 years ago asked “a dreadful but an inescapable question -“Shall we put an end to the human race, or will mankind be able to renounce war?”

President Nazarbayev said that the most brilliant minds of the 20th century have warned the people that in a future world war nuclear weapons will inevitably be used leading to the destruction of all life on Earth.

Einstein and Russell, he said, had demanded that disputes between countries cannot and should not be resolved by military means, and this remains hugely relevant now in the 21st century.

Insisting that world leaders must look for and accept reasonable alternatives on the highest priority, the Kazakh president said, “In the 21st century, humanity must take decisive steps towards demilitarization. We won’t get another chance. If this objective is not achieved, our planet will end as a graveyard of radioactive materials. We need a new comprehensive program – a 21st century, a world without wars.”

He listed three key principles that required adoption and adaptation. These were:

.The acceptance that there will be no winners in any modern war and that everyone engaged in such activity would be on the losing side.

.That any new war will inevitably entail the use of weapons of mass destruction which could lead to the destruction of all humankind, and that it might be too late to argue over who is responsible for such catastrophes.

.Acceptance that the main tool for resolving all disputes should be peaceful dialogue and constructive negotiations. Everyone would have equal responsibility for peace and security, mutual respect and non-interference in domestic affairs.

He further stated that the world community must take comprehensive action towards achieving these goals.

He there must be gradual progress towards a world free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, he said Kazakhstan made a significant contribution by championing the adoption of the Universal Declaration for the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World at the UN in December 2015.

He reminded the world that 25 years ago Kazakhstan had permanently closed its nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk. He said at that time Kazakhstan had the world’s fourth largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, and willingly chose to destroy it as it was seen as a menacing legacy of the collapsed Soviet Union.

President Nazarbayev said that while global nuclear security summits are of great importance, “We now need global decisions to prohibit deploying lethal weapons in outer space, on the seabed and in international waters of the World Ocean, as well as in the Arctic.”

He concluded with a warning, “Our civilization, by scholars’ estimates, has survived more than 15,000 wars, approximately three every year. Hundreds of millions of people have died, cities and countries have been destroyed, cultures and civilizations have vanished. The world is on the verge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but the virus of war continues to poison the international community. Militarism has deeply penetrated our minds and behavior.” (ANI)

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