of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev
at the meeting dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s
decision to stop nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk Test Site
“Dear Compatriots, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today we are at the threshold of the celebration of a momentous
Twenty years ago, on Semei‟s land - the last nuclear explosion
rang out on one of the largest nuclear test grounds in the world.
We all know that according to my decree, the Semipalatinsk
Nuclear Test Site was closed.
But this was not easily done.
The stoppage of nuclear tests only became possible thanks to
the selflessness, fearlessness and enthusiasm of millions of Kazakhs
to stop crimes against life and against the health of our nation.
The world knows the Semipalatinsk region as a nuclear test
But the truth is that Semipalatinsk is a place where great people
such as Abai and Shakarim grew up!
Semipalatinsk is a place where Kazakh science and education,
literature and art were born!
It is well-known that at the beginning of the last century
Semipalatinsk was the first capital of Alash Orda.
The citizens of Semipalatinsk love their motherland, their nation
and their city.
Despite experiencing various diseases during the years of
nuclear tests, they have not left their land.
They did not hang their heads… they did not bow down -
because they were fuelled by strong patriotic feelings.
This noble feature of our nation proves the power of our national
After half a century of endless explosions, nuclear tests on
Kazakh land were finally put to a stop.
Developed countries gave guarantees for our security,
development and prosperity.
It was Kazakhstan‟s greatest achievement and therefore
attracted the world‟s gaze on our country.
After having experienced all the consequences of nuclear tests
and having suffered from numerous tragedies, our nation accepted
the idea with much gratitude.
The decision brought joy to millions of peace-loving people all
over the world.
And it inspired the hope that nuclear testing everywhere might
end at last.
The explosions on Semipalatinsk Test Site injured our nation.
After becoming independent, Kazakhstan has done everything
possible to deliver our holy land from suffering.
From that time on, our country has attained a high level of
The right direction and a path leading to prosperity were
Today, the Western Kazakhstan region plays an important role in
the industrial and technological development of the country.
New industries are opening in the region. Modern technologies
have been adopted.
Agriculture is developing. The development of diary and milk
production is also going on.
According to my instructions, the Government is currently
working on a development programme for the city of Semei.
Schools, hospitals and cultural venues are being constructed in
the framework of this programme.
More than 20 billion tenge has already been spent on the task.
We will soon begin the second stage of the programme.
Problems relating to potable water and heating will be solved.
In the framework of the „Road Map‟ for the region, more than 17
billion tenge was allocated. This sum must be fully - but carefully -
The prosperity of the region means prosperity for the whole
We will realize all the measures scheduled by every means.
Dear Compatriots, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Twenty years ago on Semei land, the last nuclear explosion rang
out on one of the largest nuclear test sites in the world.
The stoppage of such tests was thanks to the selflessness,
fearlessness and enthusiasm of millions of Kazakhs to stop a crime
against life and health of a nation.
Banding together, Kazakh people have won the fight against an
omnipotent and totalitarian machine which had been carrying out
experiments on our entire nation for many decades.
Millions of Kazakhs and the citizens of other states responded to
the appeal of Olzhas Suleimenov - and gave their signatures to the
„Nevada-Semei‟ organization‟s proclamation.
Thousands of people participated in protest meetings.
As a result of genuine nationwide effort, in 1989, 11 of the 18
planned nuclear tests had been stopped in Semei.
In all, 456 nuclear tests were carried out on our land, and the
total nuclear power of them was 2,500 times more than that of the
power released by the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The last test in Kazakhstan‟s history took place on October,
From that historical moment - two decades have passed, but we
still feel the irreplaceable losses inflicted on our nation.
People who lived through the nuclear test era continue to
experience tragic consequences…
Even their children experience the terrible consequences.
The total number of our compatriots exposed to radioactive
irradiation exceeds one million!
One million peaceful Kazakh citizens became the innocent
victims of nuclear insanity!
The Nuclear Test Site drama was a drama for the whole of
The injuries inflicted on our environment were so serious that
restoring it will take more than 300 years!
The local ecological disaster zone around the Semei Nuclear
Test Site occupies more than 300,000 square kilometers.
That‟s one-ninth of all Kazakhstan‟s territory – a size comparable
to the size of all of Germany – transformed into a toxic wasteland.
Despite the difficulties, the Government has never left its citizens
alone with their problems.
We carry out permanent work on social rehabilitation of the
population and the territories exposed to the tests‟ influence.
In total, 34 billion tenge has been spent for this purpose.
We have implemented a State Programme on the complex
solution of the problems of the former nuclear test site which has
already considerably improved the environmental situation of the
I believe it is necessary to create a cluster of radiological medical
It could unite the efforts of all Kazakhstan‟s medical centers in
the diagnosis and treatment of oncologic diseases and other maladies
caused by radiation.
The Kazakh government will do everything to ensure that future
generations will not suffer from the toxic fall out of Semei‟s Nuclear
Test Site; the government will do everything to ensure that past
experiments will not continue to affect the emotional and physical well-
being of our people.
We thank our foreign partners – the governments of the USA,
Russia, Japan, UK, Canada, Italy, Switzerland and other countries,
the UNDP and the EU for their contribution to the rehabilitation of
Semei region‟s population and ecology.
Dear Kazakhstanians, Guests!
For four decades our people were held hostage to a global
The closure of the Semipalatinsk Test Site and renunciation of
nuclear weapons became the first message to mankind from an
Our country voluntarily gave up the fourth largest nuclear arsenal
in the world.
Aware of our responsibility to the world, we took the only right
Kazakhstan was one of the first in the Commonwealth of
Independent States to join the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons and the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
Our country dismantled out last nuclear warhead exactly 15
years ago and the world's nuclear powers signed a memorandum
giving security assurances to our country.
In 2006, Kazakhstan initiated the singing in Semipalatinsk of the
Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.
These historic acts demonstrate to the international community
our commitment to non-violence and peace.
For each of these historic landmarks - hundreds of thousands of
human destinies suffered a nuclear-free choice of the whole country
Unfortunately, very few countries followed the example of
Kazakhstan and, today, the nuclear threat resembles a radiation
stricken body that continues to mutate and acquire new forms.
The recent nuclear test in North Korea, for example… the
controversy surrounding the Iranian nuclear program… the on-going
confrontations of two nuclear powers – India and Pakistan… terrorist
groups attempting to acquire their own nuclear weapons… All this
once again shows how fragile global equilibrium is.
Kazakhstan stands as an example of nuclear disarmament today
– as the only real alternative to a process that could see our planet
slide into an abyss.
I am very pleased to welcome here in Semei our foreign friends -
the heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Kazakhstan, journalists
from the world's leading media.
I would like you all to bring to the leadership of your countries
and to the largest public possible, the message that Kazakh people
dream of a global policy aimed at the total destruction of nuclear
threat on our planet!
Together with our partners, Kazakhstan will continue to exert all
efforts to create a global movement for a non-nuclear world.
We call on political parties, public and non-governmental
organizations, all active and not indifferent people to join this
I call on the UN to declare August 29th - the day when 18 years
ago, this nuclear test site was finally closed - as the „International Day
of Nuclear Weapons Renunciation‟.
Only through common effort can we make a decisive leap to
establish a nuclear-free world!
I believe that the next ten years will be critical for the whole
The decade will show us if we are able to refuse nuclear
weapons completely, or whether they continue to threaten mankind.
First of all, we should start revising nonproliferation mechanisms.
The Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is effective
for 40 years.
It is quite enough time to evaluate all its advantages and
disadvantages and make corrections to meet today‟s demands.
Not only countries possessing nuclear weapons, but also the
international community - including nuclear and non-nuclear states -
should participate in this process.
Countries possessing nuclear weapons must show leadership,
goodwill and, finally, fulfill a commitment to reduce their arsenals.
In this regard, we welcome the statement by the U.S. President
Barack Obama, made in Cairo, that there is a need for complete
elimination of nuclear weapons by all nations of the world.
Kazakhstan also supports the recent initiatives of the President
of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, and the President of the United States,
Mr Obama, on nuclear disarmament and reduction of strategic
We hope that the example of the establishment of a Nuclear
Free Zone in Central Asia, Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia
will be used in other parts of the world.
Only then will our planet be a place of peace and security.
Addressing the problem of international security will be one of
the main priorities in the forthcoming chairmanship of Kazakhstan of
Our country has an absolute historical and moral right to act as
one of the leaders of the world's anti-nuclear movement.
The memory of the sacrifices made by our people obliges us to
Care for the peaceful life of our children who are the future
inhabitants of this planet blessed by God obliges us to do this!
Today is very important for us all.
For many years our nation had absorbed the harm caused by
the Nuclear Test Site.
The holy Kazakh land turned into a test ground.
We closed it thanks to independence.
It is now necessary to remember the efforts that helped us
implement all this.
The historical event opened-up a path of fresh opportunity and
acted for the benefit of our country‟s development.
Our children will not be exposed to the damages our ancestors
Such kind of trouble must never again be repeated.
Stability inside the country and openness to the global
community is the way to go these days.
Only by this route can we achieve the desired high level of
Tole Bee said “Don‟t ask heaven for good; ask it from the united
We need the unity of the nation.
Therefore, let us pray that solidarity and cohesion will never
leave our nation.
Friends, the most important thing is a secure country – a nation
free of all worry!
Thank you for your attention.”
Semei, June 18 2009
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