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Astana to Host Major Forum on Nuclear Disarmament

On August 29, the Independence Palace in Astana will host a major international conference ‘Building a nuclear-weapon-free world’, marking the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site.

The Forum, held on the UN’s International Day against Nuclear Tests, will be addressed to by Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev and attended by senior political, religious and civil society leaders, reputable academics from around the world.

The Forum will include a plenary session along with discussion panels on the following issues:

· The UN and the disarmament process: what are the prospects?

· President Nazarbayev’s Manifesto – “The World. The 21st Century”

· Promoting the rejection of nuclear deterrence - a new era in international security

· Building nuclear weapon free zones – the geography of sustainable peace

· The role of civil society in nuclear disarmament

The Conference will be jointly hosted with Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND). The Forum participants will commemorate victims of the use and testing of nuclear weapons, review the challenges facing the campaign in favour of disarmament and non-proliferation and make proposals on how to strengthen international security.

The Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Conference, Kazakhstan Senate’s Speaker Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Test Site was a date of global significance.

“President Nazarbayev is rightly recognized as the leader of the global anti-nuclear movement. He is the only leader to close a nuclear test site. The aim of working towards complete nuclear disarmament underpins President Nazarbayev’s Manifesto, “The World. The 21st century”. The anniversary date of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site is the best opportunity for the whole world to come together to consider the vital importance of establishing sustainable peace on the planet and to propose new common solutions for security problems,” Tokayev said.

Senior representatives from international bodies, non-governmental organizations, and the world’s major religions will attend the conference in Astana, including among others:

· Michael Møller – UN Under-Secretary-General, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva and the Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament

· Lassina Zerbo – Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

· Saber Chowdhury – President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND)

· Nkodo Dang – President of the Pan-African Parliament

· Margarita Popova – Vice-President of Bulgaria

· Kenneth Kedi – Speaker of the Nitijela (Legislature) of the Marshall Islands and Honourable Senator of Rongelap Atoll

· Ruveni NadaloDeputy Speaker of the Parliament of Fiji

· Mani Shankar Aiyar – PNND Co-President in India and Chair of the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for a Nuclear Weapon Free and Non-violent World Order

· Christine Beerli – Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

· Jacqueline Cabasso – Executive Director of Western States Legal Foundation

· Jayantha Dhanapala – Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and the 11th President of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs;

· Konstantin Kosachev – Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Council of the Federation;

· Punsalmaagin Ochirbat – First President of Mongolia

Following the conference a report will be published detailing the discussions and the outcomes.

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