Turkmenistan Joined IAEA
One step further for the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone
Friday 18 September 2015, by
ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan.ru) — The 59th session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna passed by unanimous vote a resolution on the admission of Turkmenistan as a member of the IAEA, the press service of the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan said.
Member-states of this organization praised Turkmenistan’s commitment to the principles of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world, including in Central Asia. It was also noted at the session that Turkmenistan as a member of the IAEA will be fulfilling all its commitments and tasks and act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
Turkmenistan is member of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ) treaty which is a legally binding commitment by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons. The treaty was signed on 8 September 2006 at Semipalatinsk Test Site, Kazakhstan, and is also known as Treaty of Semipalatinsk, Treaty of Semei, or Treaty of Semey.
Steps towards the establishment of such a zone began with the Almaty Declaration in 1992. A resolution calling for the establishment of such a zone was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly in 1997 and reaffirmed in 2000.
Mindful of the lack of support by the nuclear powers for a similar Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, the five permanent members of the Security Council were involved in the negotiations. While Russia and China approved of the treaty, United States, France and United Kingdom objected to a clause which stated that the Treaty would not affect the rights and obligations of the signatories under previous international agreements because of the already existent Tashkent Treaty which involved Russia. The United States also objected on principle to establishment of any zone disturbing “existing security arrangements to the detriment of regional and international security or otherwise abridg[ing] the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense guaranteed in the UN charter”.
The United States also objected to possibility that Iran could apply to join the Treaty, so this provision was removed. The United States, United Kingdom, and France were finally concerned about the possibility that the Treaty could forbid the transit of nuclear weapons through the territory.
In spite of attempts by United States, United Kingdom, and France to block the Treaty, it was finally signed in September 2006, although they voted against the General Assembly Resolution which welcomed the signing of the treaty in December 2006.
All five Permanent Members of the Security Council (also the five NPT nuclear weapons states) signed the Protocol to the treaty on May 6, 2014, which provides legally binding assurances not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against CANWFZ Treaty parties.
As of January 2015 the United Kingdom and France have ratified the protocols.