The United States of America and the Republic of Kazakhstan finalized an extension amendment to their bilateral Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Agreement today. The amendment was signed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and by Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov. This CTR agreement, first signed in 1993 by Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev and then U.S. Vice President Al Gore, formed the foundation upon which our two governments built a strategic partnership against the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Security Affairs Joe Benkert stated, “With this extension, we continue our historic Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction partnership with President Nazarbayev and the Republic of Kazakhstan. I look forward to building upon the remarkable achievements our two governments have made over the last 14 years in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.”
The CTR “Nunn-Lugar” Program has facilitated monumental achievements over the last 14 years. The Republic of Kazakhstan, under the leadership of President Nazarbayev, became a nuclear weapons free state. Together, the United States and Kazakhstan eliminated the Stepnogorsk anthrax weapons production facility, the largest facility of its kind in the Soviet Union, completed the dismantlement of all intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launchers and the closure of 194 nuclear weapons test tunnels and bore holes at the former Soviet test site in Semipalatinsk. The two countries are working together to secure spent nuclear fuel from the closed BN-350 plutonium production reactor in Aktau. Lastly, the cooperative biological research program greatly enhanced knowledge of endemic diseases and fostered strategic research partnerships vital for combating bioterrorism and potential pandemics.
With this extension, the United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan enter the 15th year of CTR cooperation and a new era. As CTR cooperation evolves to tackle today’s complex threats to global security, the United States looks forward to maintaining
a strong strategic partnership with the Republic of Kazakhstan, and continuing and expanding cooperation beyond dismantlement. The biological threat program is a major area of expanded cooperation. Through projects focused on capacity building, research, bio-security, and bio-surveillance, the two governments are committed to confronting the emerging biological threat through proactive prevention.
Extension of this agreement today demonstrates the strong commitment of the United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan to their partnership in the important global fight against WMD proliferation.