Kazakhstan Hosts International Conference against Nuclear Weapons

According to a news report, Kazakhstan  hosted a conference entitled "Kazakhstan's way to a nuclear weapon-free world" to mark the 16th anniversary of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site's closure.”  The report indicated that “the symposium will be organized by the country's Foreign Ministry, and, “attended by high-ranking representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), members of the United States Congress, Kazakh lawmakers and Cabinet ministers, the heads of scientific and research centers concerned with non-proliferation, diplomats and members of international organizations, and local and foreign journalists.”

According to the report, “Kazakhstan was the first ex-Soviet state to scrap its nuclear weapons program.”  Other countries which voluntarily closed down their nuclear arsenals were South Africa the first country, Ukraine and Belarus.”
The report goes on to state “The conference organizers said: "The symposium is intended to attract the world's attention to the example of Kazakhstan, which has shown that the most effective and preferable path to ensuring the security of a nation lies through a nuclear weapon-free choice and a consistently peaceful foreign policy, and not through the creation and development of weapons of mass destruction. In light of the international situation today, Kazakhstan's example can and should be very timely and useful."

Semipalatinsk, in northeast Kazakhstan's steppe, was the Soviet Union's largest nuclear weapons testing ground. The site, picked by Joseph Stalin's security chief Lavrentiy Beria after the Second World War, saw the country's first atom bomb test explosion, Operation First Lightning, in 1949.”