Five Nuclear Powers signed a protocol on Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty

May 9, 2014 18:18 IST

The Five Nuclear Powers and UN Security Council members (United States, Russia, China, Britain and France) on 6 May 2014 signed a new protocol on existing Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (CANWFZ) Treaty in New York. The agenda of singing the protocol was creation of a nuclear free zone in five central Asian countries namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.


The UN Security Council five members have also agreed to put a ban on production, purchase and placement of nuclear weapons on the territory of these Central Asian countries. But the agreement doesn’t include a ban on peaceful nuclear energy.

Apart from this, the Protocol legally-binds the Nuclear Powers from using nuclear weapons or threaten them to use nuclear weapons against CANWFZ Treaty parties (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). The term given to the guarantees of non-use of nuclear weapons against the parties to the treaty is negative guarantees.

The United States is not eligible to be a party to the CANWFZ Treaty, but as an NPT nuclear weapons state is eligible to join the Treaty’s Protocol. The agreement occurred on the sidelines of the two-week preparatory meeting for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference in 2015.

Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (CANWFZ) Treaty

The CANWFZ treaty is a legally binding commitment of Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) that demands not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons.

The treaty was signed on 8 September 2006 at Semipalatinsk (a major Soviet nuclear site), Kazakhstan. Hence it is also known as Treaty of Semipalatinsk, Treaty of Semei or Treaty of Semey. The treaty included Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan and came into force on 21 March 20009. This is the world's first nuclear free zone located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere.

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The Treaty and its Protocol will promote regional cooperation, security, stability and peace in the region with a view to create the necessary conditions for the development and prosperity of their peoples.

The CANWFZ Treaty complements the NPT and enhances the international nonproliferation regime by prohibiting, among other things, the development and testing of nuclear weapons within Central Asia.

Under the Treaty, the five Central Asian zone states will not allow the stationing of nuclear weapons within their territories. These states are also required to adopt the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol. This protocol provides the IAEA with expanded access and authorities to ensure that all nuclear activities are used only for peaceful purposes.

There are four other treaties on nuclear-weapons-free zones in

Treaties of Tlatelolco – Latin America and the Caribbean
Treaty of Rarotonga – South Pacific
Treaty of Bangkok – Southeast Asia
Treaty of Pelindaba – Africa (yet not entered into force but only required two more ratifications for it)

The CANWFZ also requires its members to comply with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Mongolia's self-declared nuclear-free status has also been recognised through a United Nations General Assembly resolution.

About Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

The Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons also referred to as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was opened for signature on 1 July 1968. The United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and 59 other countries signed the treaty in 1968.

The NPT is the most widely accepted arms control agreement. Israel, India, and Pakistan have never been signatories of the NPT and North Korea withdrew from the Treaty in 2003.

The treaty obligates the five acknowledged nuclear-weapon states (the United States, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, France, and China).
• Not to transfer nuclear weapons
• Other nuclear explosive devices
• Their technology to any non-nuclear-weapon state

Under the treaty, Non-nuclear-weapon States Parties undertake not to acquire or produce nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices. The review of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear arms.

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