Kazakhstan Chaired a Working Group B of CTBTO Preparatory Commission

11 March 2021

Erlan Batyrbekov, Director General of the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NNC RK) was elected as Chairman of the Working Group B of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. The appointment ceremony was held online on March 08, 2021 with participation of representatives of more than 150 countries worldwide.

Norway, Paraguay and Kazakhstan representatives were nominated for the position of a Chairman, while Joachim Schulze (Germany) previously chaired the group for four years.

“Certainly, the chairmanship of the CTBTO Working Group B is a strong results of our country’s course towards strengthening the regime for the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, - explained Erlan Batyrbekov. – Previously, all the candidates carried out an extensive work, the voting took several months, we presented our programs and had a number of consultations with representative from different countries”.

The nomination of our country is a deliberate decision based on Kazakhstan's unique experience in implementing policies aimed at achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Kazakhstan’s long-standing activities in the political arena and its peace initiatives are well known and supported by the international community. It was our country that set an example to the world by abandoning the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal and by deciding to close one of the world’s three largest nuclear test sites - Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) that provided for the development and improvement of nuclear weapons.

Over these years, Kazakhstan has conducted large-scale activities to eliminate the infrastructure and consequences of nuclear weapons testing, to convert the former military-industrial complex of the Semipalatinsk Test Site for peaceful purposes, and has received unique experience in reducing the global threat and strengthening the non-proliferation regime of WMD. These works are entrusted to the NNC RK.

It is important to note that our country was one of the first CIS countries to accede to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which are among the cornerstones of international security and nuclear nonproliferation.

Over the years Kazakhstan has provided significant support to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and has demonstrated its determination to achieve its goals. For example, there has been active cooperation in terms of establishing the International Monitoring System - IMS. In particular, four seismic and one infrasound IMS stations are operating under the operational control of NNC RK, as well as the Kazakhstan National Data Center - KNDC, the first radionuclide station for noble gas monitoring in Central Asia is currently being established. In addition, NNC RK organized 4 field exercises on the territory of the former STS. The large-scale, integrated field experiment conducted in 2008, which involved more than 200 participants from more than 40 states, occupies a special place in this series. All four on-site inspection experiments conducted in Kazakhstan received high appreciation from the CTBTO program committee.

In his welcoming speech, Erlan Batyrbekov noted: "As chair, Kazakhstan will make every effort to promote the initiatives of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty organization. This will be another significant contribution of our country to the process of establishing a universal ban on nuclear testing”.

Erlan Batyrbekov's extensive experience both as Director General of NNC RK and at the various international venues as STS conversion expert, the Member of the group of governmental experts - advisors to the UN Secretary-General in the field of multilateral nuclear disarmament verification, the Coordinator of the Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA) from the Republic of Kazakhstan, Deputy Chairman of the Pugwash movement of scientists of Kazakhstan will also serve the effective implementation of the CTBTO's activities.