Central Asia

Nuclear Weapon Free Regions

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The Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, commonly known as the Treaty of Semipalatinsk, was signed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan on 8 September 2006. The Treaty was quickly ratified by all signatories, and entered into force on 21 March 2009.

The idea of a Central Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) was sparked by Mongolia’s decision to declare its territory a NWFZ in 1992. At the 48th session of the UN General Assembly in 1993, Uzbekistan proposed a Central Asian Zone. Kyrgyzstan joined Uzbekistan in the plea the following year, but due to a lack of regional consensus, the initiative failed to produce immediate results. A breakthrough came in 1997, when the five Central Asian states issued the Almaty Declaration calling for the establishment of a Zone. Negotiations commenced in 2002, and ended in 2005 when a final draft of a treaty text was adopted in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Because of the Semipalatinsk Treaty’s alleged unclear relation to the 1992 Tashkent Security Treaty – to which Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are parties – France, the United Kingdom, and the United States voted against the Zone’s establishment in the UN General Assembly. Opposition from a few powerful states, however, was not enough to block the treaty’s adoption. During the negotiation of the Treaty, on the other hand, the Western Security Council members were – in fear of an Iranian attempt at masking its nuclear programme – successful in making the Treaty closed for later accession by other states.

The Protocol to the Treaty, addressed at the world’s nuclear-armed states, was signed by the China, France, Russia, the United Kindgdom, and the United States at a margin meeting to the NPT PrepCom in 2014.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS: Treaty of Semipalatinsk
The Central Asian Nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty or the treaty of Semipalatinsk was signed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on 8 September 2006. The treaty was ratified by all signatory states and came into force on 21 March 2009.