By Dr Patrick I. Gomes, ACP Secretary-General

Following are extensive excerpts from the opening remarks by the Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) at the high-level E-Governance Conference on 30 May 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia.

BRUSSELS (IDN-INPS) – Many institutions and organizations (public and private) in developing countries, such as ACP (the African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries, have embraced the utilization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to address the various opportunities and challenges in the context of their respective development strategies.

- Photo: 2021

Eurasian Military Alliance of Post-Soviet States Marks 30th Anniversary of Closure of Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site

By Radwan Jakeem

NEW YORK | NUR-SULTAN (IDN) — In a joint statement, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), comprising six member states, has highlighted the role of Kazakhstan’s First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose decree shut down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site on August 29, 1991.

The statement was published by the press service of the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 26 in the run-up to the International Day against Nuclear Tests, which this year is commemorated on the 30th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

The ministers of CSTO member states—Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan—also “confirm their commitment to maintaining peace and security, and emphasize the contribution of Kazakhstan, which renounced the possession of nuclear weapons, to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime, maintaining international security and stability.”

They point out that the termination of the activities of the test site was a major milestone in promoting the idea of a universal ban on nuclear tests. The closure of the Semipalatinsk test site advanced international efforts to establish a moratorium on nuclear tests around the world and the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia in 2006.

Kazakhstan performed vital work to rehabilitate its territory and adjacent areas and to ensure radiation safety and to restore the environment. The ministers emphasise the importance of joint projects to eliminate proliferation threats and strengthening physical security performed by Russia, the U.S. and Kazakhstan since 2004.

The CSTO member states support the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on International Cooperation and Coordination for the Human and Ecological Rehabilitation and Economic Development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan in December 2020.

The ministers are also committed to the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which bans all nuclear explosions on Earth whether for military or for peaceful purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 10, 1996, but has not entered into force, as eight specific nations have not ratified the treaty.

From 1949 until 1989, the Soviet Union conducted 468 nuclear tests above and underground at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear test site, known also as the Semey polygon, in the eastern part of Kazakhstan. The total impact of the nuclear explosions in Kazakhstan exceeds many times the power of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.

Until 1963, all tests were conducted above ground and created large, radioactive clouds that engulfed villages in the area, resulting in very high rates of cancer and other diseases. After 1963, the tests were conducted underground.

The CSTO is an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia that consists of selected post-Soviet states. The treaty had its origins to the Soviet Armed Forces, which was gradually replaced by the United Armed Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States. However, on May 15, 1992, six post-Soviet states belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States—Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—signed the Collective Security Treaty (also referred to as the Tashkent Pact or Tashkent Treaty).

Three other post-Soviet states—Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Georgia—signed the next year and the treaty took effect in 1994. Five years later, six of the nine—all but Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Uzbekistan—agreed to renew the treaty for five more years, and in 2002 those six agreed to create the Collective Security Treaty Organization as a military alliance.

The CSTO charter reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force. Signatories would not be able to join other military alliances or other groups of states, while aggression against one signatory would be perceived as an aggression against all.

To this end, the CSTO holds yearly military command exercises for the CSTO nations to have an opportunity to improve inter-organization cooperation. A CSTO military exercise called “Rubezh 2008” was hosted in Armenia, where a combined total of 4,000 troops from all seven constituent CSTO member countries conducted operative, strategic and tactical training with an emphasis towards furthering efficiency of the collective security element of the CSTO partnership.

The largest of such exercises was held in Southern Russia and central Asia in 2011, consisting of more than 10,000 troops and 70 combat aircraft.

In order to deploy military bases of a third country in the territory of the CSTO member-states, it is necessary to obtain the official consent of all its members. It also employs a “rotating presidency” system in which the country leading the CSTO alternates every year. [IDN-InDepthNews – 27 August 2021]

Photo: Flags of six CSTO member states. Source: Astana Times

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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