Kazakhstan’s efforts to promote nuclear security and non-proliferation

On independence, Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth biggest nuclear arsenal, which it inherited from the Soviet Union. Since then Kazakhstan has been a vocal supporter of nuclear arms control.

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Factsheet on Kazakhstan

General

  • Kazakhstan has been independent since 1991.
  • Astana has been the capital since 1997.
  • Since independence GDP has increased 16 fold. According to the International Monetary Fund, Kazakhstan ranks in the top 10 fastest growing countries.
  • Kazakhstan is a regional leader in terms of economic reform, openness to international trade, investment and political stability. In the World Bank’s Doing Business Report Kazakhstan comes 77th out of 189 economies.
  • Kazakhstan has joined the World Trade Organization this year, which should help develop the manufacturing and service sector base.
  • Kazakhstan is known for the richness of its resources; it is among the top ten producers of oil and gas, the fifth biggest exporter of wheat – and the biggest exporter of uranium.
  • Kazakhstan is one of the most diverse countries on earth, with over 130 different ethnic groups and 17 religious denominations living harmoniously there.

 

Kazakhstan’s efforts to promote nuclear security and non-proliferation

  • On independence, Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth biggest nuclear arsenal, which it inherited from the Soviet Union. Since then Kazakhstan has been a vocal supporter of nuclear arms control.
  • On 27 August the government of Kazakhstan will sign an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to establish an international low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel bank in the country in 2017.
  • Kazakhstan believes its decision to relinquish nuclear weapons can serve as a useful example for other states. It has used its close diplomatic relations with the Government of Iran to urge its near neighbour to follow its lead and swear off nuclear arms. In 2013 Kazakhstan hosted two rounds of nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran.
  • According to the annex to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran may choose to sell its excess enriched uranium to the IAEA LEU bank in Kazakhstan when it becomes operational.
  • Kazakhstan is a party to START-I, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The country signed an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in February 2004 and is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • In December 2009, the UN General Assembly unanimously accepted a resolution put forward by Kazakhstan proclaiming August 29, the day when in 1991 President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a decree on the closure of Semipalatinsk Test Site, as the ‘International Day against Nuclear Tests’.

International cooperation

  • Since independence, Kazakhstan has played a constructive role in regional and international security.
  • The rebuilding of Afghanistan is a major priority for Kazakhstan. The country has provided humanitarian aid, more than 1,000 student scholarships, and training programmes for the police.
  • Kazakhstan is bidding to join the UN Security Council for 2017-2018 as a non-permanent member.
  • Kazakhstan is increasingly playing a more active role as an international donor. The government has decided to formalise this by establishing an international development organisation called KazAid.