IDANT 2021 - CTBTO head Floyd visits Kazakhstan

CTBTO Executive Secretary Robert Floyd has marked the International Day Against Nuclear Tests (IDANT) in Kazakhstan, saluting the country’s decision 30 years ago to give up the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal and close the Soviet nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk.

On his first trip to a Member State since taking office, Floyd visited the Semipalatinsk ‘Polygon’ test site, which saw more than 450 nuclear tests between 1949 and 1989.

In the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, he had discussions with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi and Energy Minister Nurlan Nogayev, as well as First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who took the decision to renounce nuclear weapons and end nuclear testing.

The First President chose a destiny for this nation to be a leader in non-proliferation and disarmament, rather than a holder of the fourth-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Kazakhstan initiated the UN General Assembly resolution establishing IDANT as an international day on 29 August, the date that the Semipalatinsk test site was closed in 1991. The day is an opportunity to remember the devastating consequences of nuclear tests and express support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a key pillar of the international non-proliferation and disarmament framework.

In a joint statement, Tileuberdi and Floyd reaffirmed the commitment of Kazakhstan and the CTBTO to a world free of nuclear testing, and called for the entry into force of the CTBT.

We conclude that it is high time to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force to advance nuclear disarmament and create a safer and more secure world for future generations.

“We call on all States to continue to observe the moratoria on nuclear explosions. We urge those States that have not yet signed and/or ratified the Treaty to do so without delay. We call on the eight remaining Annex 2 States, whose ratifications are required for entry into force of the CTBT, to demonstrate their commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament by taking this important step in support of international peace and security,” the statement said.

The CTBT is near-universal, with 185 States Signatories and 170 ratifications. But 44 specific countries with nuclear technology, the ‘Annex 2 States’, must sign and ratify before it can enter into force. Eight ratifications are still missing: by China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

Read the full joint statement here.

CTBTO head Robert Floyd at the Semipalatinsk Test Site

Floyd and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

Floyd meets First President Nursultan Nazarbayev

Floyd meets Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi

Floyd and Kazakh Energy Minister Nurlan Nogayev

View of the Semipalatinsk Test Site