The unique feature of the draft Treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia is its provision making compliance with the IAEA Additional Protocol legally binding for the states of the region

08.09.2006

p2298_1.jpgMOSCOW, SEPTEMBER8, 2006. PIR PRESS – “The unique feature of the draft Treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia is its provision making compliance with the IAEA Additional Protocol legally binding for the states of the region”, PIR Center director of information projects Daniil Kobyakov.

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On 8 September 2006, the representatives of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan signed a Treaty establishing the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ).

 

The idea to establish the CANWFZ was introduced for the first time on 25 September 1992 at the 47th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), when Mongolia announced itself a nuclear-weapon-free state. In his statement, the president of Mongolia also did not rule out the possibility of creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia; however since Mongolia is surrounded by nuclear states (Russia and China), it cannot join other nuclear-weapon-free zones. 

 

In 1993 the president of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the 48th session of UNGA introduced a proposal to create the CANWFZ, in the spirit of article VII of the NPT.

 

On 27 February 1997 the leaders of five Central Asian states signed the Almaty Declaration, in which they expressed concern over the situation with the environment in the region, which had suffered damage during the operation of the USSR nuclear complex in the region, and fully supported the idea to create the CANWFZ .

 

As the result of the conference “Central Asia – Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone”, which took place in Tashkent on 15 September 1997, the Group of Experts was created for examining the forms and elements of the preparation of the treaty establishing the CANWFZ.

 

Negotiations of specific provisions of the future treaty took quite a lot of time. Meetings on elaboration of the language of the treaty took place in Geneva, Tashkent, Sapporo, Ashghabad, and Samarkand.

 

On 27 September 2002 at the Samarkand meeting, the treaty text was agreed upon, and experts could find compromise on the majority of the provisions of the treaty except several points. UN secretary general representative Jayantha Dhanapala even said that the treaty would be signed very soon. However, because of the position of nuclear countries, most notably the United States and France, the process became protracted. The Central Asian states hoped to sign the treaty in April 2003, but final work on the treaty took additional three years. At the seventh Tashkent meeting of the regional expert group the Tashkent statement on creation of CANWFZ was adopted. Almost seven years of negotiations resulted in the final draft treaty, which was quite different from its initial version. It was expected that the treaty would be signed in Semipalatinsk in mid-2005. However it took an additional year to coordinate the positions of the countries of the region with the positions of nuclear-weapon states.

 

The CANWFZ will become the fifth nuclear-weapon-free zone in the world. At present there are nuclear-weapon-free zones in Latin America, Southeast Asia and in the South Pacific.  The treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa has not yet come into force.

 

According to the draft CANWFZ treaty the nuclear-weapon-free zone will have several unique features:

 

  • The CANWFZ is the only zone comprised entirely of landlocked states.

     

 

  • For the first time the CANWFZ treaty includes provisions, according to which the countries of the region are bound to comply with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the IAEA Additional Protocol. Besides, the treaty obliges the states of the region to comply with international requirements regarding the security of nuclear facilities. 

     

 

  • The CANWFZ will become the first nuclear-weapon-free zone entirely located in the northern hemisphere, where much of the territory is occupied by nuclear-weapon states.

     

 

  • The CANWFZ treaty calls on supporting environmental protection measures aimed at repairing the damage of Cold War nuclear programs in the region. 

Commenting the signing of the CANWFZ Treaty, PIR Center Director of Information Projects Daniil Kobyakov said: “the unique feature of the draft Treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, which makes compliance with the IAEA Additional Protocol legally binding for the states of the region, will further strengthen the global nonproliferation regime”.

 

PIR Center previously published materials dedicated to the CANWFZ issues. Among them are the following articles in Yaderny Kontrol journal:

 

 

 

 

Additional information on security issues in the region, including PIR Center publications, interviews of officials, and documents could be found in “Central Asia” section of PIR Center website (in Russian).

 

For additional information about the activities of PIR Center and comments of PIR Center experts please contact PR coordinator Pavel Mansurov: phone + 7 (495) 234-0525 e-mail: mansurov@pircenter.org 

 

 

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