United Nations: The world`s five nuclear powers pledged not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against five Central Asian nations that have banned nuclear weapons.
The United States, Russia, China, Britain and France signed a protocol yesterday to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in Central Asia at a UN ceremony. It assures the five countries that nuclear weapons won`t be used against them.
The five countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan expressed hope that the protocol will be ratified by the five nuclear-weapon states so it can take effect before next year`s review of the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear arms.
Kazakhstan`s UN Ambassador Kairat Abdraknmanov, speaking on behalf of the five countries, called the signing "a historic event" that will provide Central Asian states "security assurances against the use, or the threat of use, of nuclear weapons."
He said the treaty establishing the`nuclear-weapons-free-zone, which came into force in 2009, was the result of the five nations` efforts "to provide security, stability and peace in the region with a view to create the necessary conditions for the development and prosperity of their peoples."
Thomas Countryman, the US assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, said Tuesday`s signing was a "significant step to advance nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament."
He said the signing by the five nuclear powers signified their support for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and their readiness to offer "firm assurances" against the threat or use of nuclear weapons to states that are part of nuclear-weapons-free-zones.
Russia`s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called the signing "a huge step towards finalising the international legal status of the zone" in Central Asia.