WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after President Barack Obama and Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev released a joint statement on the occasion of the Nuclear Security Summit:
“I am pleased that today the Obama Administration reiterated the U.S. commitment to Kazakhstan’s non-proliferation efforts through a joint statement on the occasion of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit. For a quarter-century, Kazakhstan has served as a model for cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and for other countries seeking to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons,” said Senator Coons.
“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Program, named after U.S. Senators Sam Nunn (D-GA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), who worked together to pass the Soviet Threat Reduction Act of 1991. The Nunn-Lugar Program successfully removed more than a thousand Soviet-era nuclear warheads from Kazakhstan and sanitized and secured hundreds of radioactive underground nuclear test sites in the country. The success of the Nunn-Lugar Program is a testament to the role the U.S. Senate can play in accomplishing American non-proliferation and foreign policy objectives.
"In recent years, Kazakhstan has ratified both the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone protocol, thereby pledging not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits nuclear explosive testing. Kazakhstan has also worked with the IAEA to establish a Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) fuel bank in Oskemen, Kazakhstan. This fuel bank will deter countries from seeking enrichment capabilities and is consistent with the rights of IAEA Member States to develop, research, produce, and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
"Kazakhstan’s non-proliferation efforts are commendable and serve as an example for both current and aspiring nuclear powers that seek to act as responsible members of the international community. I echo President Obama's continued support for Kazakhstan’s non-proliferation efforts, and call on the Senate to give its advice and consent for the ratification of Nuclear Weapon Free Zone protocols and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. I also urge Congress to provide stable, long-term funding for the IAEA and for the Senate to vote to confirm Laura Holgate as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations offices in Vienna, which include the IAEA. These efforts will reinforce the global non-proliferation regime and lead to a more stable and secure world.”