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“Embrace! A World Free of Nuclear Weapons”

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

29 août 2013
“Embrace! A World Free of Nuclear Weapons” (en anglais)

Opening remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
“Embrace! A World Free of Nuclear Weapons”

Palais des Nations, Cinema 14 (Kazakh Room), A Building, 1st floor
Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 5 p.m.

Ambassador Mr. Tileuberdi
Dear Colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a pleasure to welcome you all this evening for the screening of the film “Embrace! A World Free of Nuclear Weapons”, produced by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan in conjunction with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Department of Public Information. I wish to thank Ambassador Tileuberdi and the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan for the organization of this event in support of our collective efforts to promote sustainable peace and security across the world.

While the official inauguration is planned for next month, I cannot open this event without mentioning that this is the first time that we are meeting in this newly-renovated “Kazakh Room”.
The renovations have been made possible thanks to the generous donation of the Government of Kazakhstan – for which we are greatly appreciative.

I also cannot continue without mentioning the pivotal role of Geneva in global disarmament efforts. It is here that we work towards a nuclear-free world together with our many partners – governments, regional organizations, civil society and academia. And the Palais des Nations, home to the Conference on Disarmament, provides a multilateral forum to address our common disarmament challenges.

Today, 29 August we mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests. For me, both this Day and the film that will be screened this evening touch a personal note. I am proud that it was upon the initiative of my home country that this Day was established by the UN General Assembly. I am also proud that it was the President of Kazakhstan Mr. Nursultan Nazarbeyev who signed the historic decree closing down the Semipalatinsk testing ground on 29 August 1991. Before its closing, Semipalatinsk was the second largest nuclear weapons test site in the world.
And I am proud to have signed on behalf of Kazakhstan the Treaty on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Treaty on establishing a Nuclear-Free Zone in Central Asia.

The testing had devastating consequences for the surrounding environment and the local population. These negative effects in my country represent only part of the human and environmental damage caused by a legacy of decades of these tests around the world. With the adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) the number of nuclear tests conducted dramatically reduced. However, until the Treaty enters into force, these risks will not be completely eliminated and its ultimate goal of a nuclear-free world will be left unmet.

I commend the efforts of the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to bring awareness to the grave consequences of nuclear testing and to promote nuclear responsibility, disarmament and non-proliferation around the world.

Thank you very much.