President Nazarbayev Visits the United States April 12-13, 2010 for the Nuclear Security Summit

President Nazarbayev meets with President Obama to discuss nuclear security and the prevention of nuclear terrorism.

President Obama greets President Nazarbayev before their private meeting in advance of the summit.

Photo: Nazarbayev_with_Obama_seated_2010.jpg
Photo: Nazarbayev_with_Obama_shaking_hands_2010.jpg

WASHINGTON, DC (April 11, 2010) - President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan is in the United States April 12-13, 2010, to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Obama. The purpose of the summit is to increase international cooperation in the realm of nuclear security and to involve nations in developing measures to secure nuclear materials and prevent nuclear terrorism across the world. Leaders from 47 nations are attending the summit.

On April 11, in advance of the summit, President Nazarbayev had a private meeting with President Obama to discuss Kazakhstan’s ongoing commitment to and measures in support of nuclear nonproliferation, materials security, and peaceful civilian energy use. These efforts help prevent nuclear terrorism and enhance Kazakh, U.S., and global security.

President Obama greets President Nazarbayev before their private meeting in advance of the summit.

During his visit, President Nazarbayev will also be honored at a dinner by the EastWest Institute with the 2010 EWI Peace and Preventive Diplomacy Award for his achievements in championing preventive diplomacy and promoting interfaith dialogue at the global level.

President Nazarbayev and Nuclear Security

After gaining independence in 1991, Kazakhstan inherited the world’s fourth largest nuclear and missile arsenal from the Soviet Union. The country endured over 40 years under the cloud of nuclear testing and the devastation of radiation exposure.

President Nazarbayev made the decision to close the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and eliminate all 104 SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 1,410 nuclear warheads—many of which were aimed at the United States. His actions definitively established Kazakhstan as a committed partner in nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and effectively denied terrorists access to nuclear materials and weapons of mass destruction.

President Nazarbayev has led and encouraged efforts to adopt peaceful nuclear energy solutions. Kazakhstan possesses 21 percent of the world’s natural uranium, and the President has sought to create a nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan under the aegis of the International Atomic Energy Agency. This proposal, if adopted, will enhance the safety of nuclear fuel and protect against its diversion for nuclear weapons use by terrorists.

At the United Nations last year, he proposed that August 29—the date of the first nuclear test in Kazakhstan 50 years prior—be declared the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. The UN unanimously approved the resolution.

Kazakhstan has entered into multiple treaties and international initiatives in support of denuclearization and combating nuclear terrorism, such as the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the United Nations and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism initiated by Presidents Bush and Putin. President Nazarbayev was also an architect of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, signed in 2006, to prevent the possession, use, and spread of nuclear weapons throughout the region.

For these reasons, President Nazarbayev’s presence at the Nuclear Security Summit is particularly relevant and meaningful, and his example is one for other participating nations to follow as they seek to enhance nuclear security and prevent terrorism in their own countries and throughout the world.