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Views of Belarus, Kazakhstan on nuclear tests coincide

MINSK, 27 August (BelTA) – Views of Belarus and Kazakhstan on phasing out nuclear tests and banning them completely coincide. The statement was made by Ergaly Bolegenov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Belarus, a resident plenipotentiary representative of Kazakhstan in CIS bodies, in Minsk on 27 August, BelTA has learned.

“In this regard we have always felt the highest-level support of the Belarus leadership for Kazakhstan’s initiatives. In turn, our country supports Belarus in similar matters,” he stated. Ergaly Bolegenov underlined that the rejection of nuclear tests is topical and important for all countries. “Belarus has a lot of problems brought about by the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant,” pointed out the diplomat.

An international conference Nuclear-Free World For Future Generations opened in Minsk on 27 August. It is aimed at sharing views on the future evolution of the world without nuclear weaponry and at raising the awareness about the contribution of nations to the disarmament process. Representatives of various countries and scientists will deliver their reports during the event. “During this conference we will talk about a safe world for future residents of the planet. This year’s meeting does not have such a large representation, but I think that the number of participants will increase in the future,” concluded the Ambassador of Kazakhstan.

Representatives of the Embassy of Kazakhstan said that 29 August is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. The date was approved by the UN General Assembly on 2 December 2009. The draft resolution had been suggested by Kazakhstan because on 29 August 1991 Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev issued a decree to shut down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. The measure heralded the start of the country’s renouncement of one of the world’s biggest nuclear weapons arsenal. As many as 26 countries co-authored the resolution, including Belarus.

The Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was created in 1948 specifically for testing the Soviet Union’s first nuclear device. Over the course of 40 years 456 tests were carried out there. The total power of the nuclear devices tested at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in 1949-1963 exceeds the Hiroshima bomb power by 2,500 times. Radioactive clouds of as many as 55 aerial and surface explosions and gas fractions of 169 undergrounds tests left the test site. The explosions polluted the entire eastern part of Kazakhstan with radiation. About 1.3 million people have been recognized as official victims of the tests. A high mortality rate is still registered in the area accompanied by alarming rates of oncological diseases, pathologies in newborn children, and life expectancy of as little as 40-50 years.