The Struggle for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia

Some countries want nothing to do with nuclear weapons, and that’s particularly true of former Soviet satellites that were subjected to numerous nuclear tests during the Cold War. A treaty on a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in Central Asia, agreed to by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, 10 years in the making and signed in 2006, is about to come into force. “The establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia also signifies the creation of a disarmament ‘pocket’ in a volatile region of the world where nuclear ambitions are running high and proliferation dangers are significant,” explains Togzhan Kassenova in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Nuclear power states – United States, Russia, Britain, China, and France – claim to support such nuclear-free zones, including three others in the world, but then dawdle in supporting pledges not to attack such zones with nuclear weapons. So far the Central Asia zone has secured such a pledge from Russia and China, but not the US, UK or France. Kassenova concludes that a united pledge of support for the zone and treaty in Central Asia would send a strong message to battling forces of the Middle East, demonstrating support for universal disarmament and nonproliferation norms and values. – YaleGlobal

The Struggle for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia

Togzhan Kassenova
Thursday, January 8, 2009

Click here for the article on The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Togzhan Kassenova is a research associate at the University of Georgia’s Center for International Trade and Security. Her expertise is in US-Russian strategic relations, cooperative threat reduction, and WMD proliferation issues in Central Asia. Her first book, “From Antagonism to Partnership: The Uneasy Path of the U.S.-Russian Cooperative Threat Reduction,” was published in 2007. She is a native of Kazakhstan.

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