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US Assistant Secretary to visit Kazakhstan

25 august 2015, 22:08
0
Thomas Countryman. Photo courtesy of nti.org.
Thomas Countryman. Photo courtesy of nti.org.

The United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman will pay a working visit to Kazakhstan on August 27-28, Tengrinews reports citing RIA Novosti.

According to the press office of the US State Department, Mr. Countryman will attend the official ceremony of launching the international nuclear bank being set up on the territory of Kazakhstan - at the Ulba metallurgy plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk in eastern Kazakhstan. 

The idea of the fuel bank is that the countries that have enrichment technologies would donate enriched fuel to the bank to enable countries that do not possess them to obtain fuel for their power reactors. It was initially put forward by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a non-profit organization aimed at strengthening global security by reducing the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, back in 2006. 

In 2009 Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested hosting the international nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan, which after the collapse of the Soviet Union voluntarily gave up and dismantled the world's fourth largest nuclear arsenal that it inherited. The International Atomic Energy Agency approved Kazakhstan as the host country of the nuclear fuel bank in 2011. Since then, the two sides have been negotiating the terms of the cooperation. 

And now the official ceremony is finally to take place on August 27.

As part of his visit, Thomas Countryman will meet with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Kazakhstan Yerlan Idrissov and Energy Minister of Kazakhstan Vladimir Shkolnik to discuss various issues related to nuclear non-proliferation. 

In addition, he will visit the International Science and Technology Center of Kazakhstan in Astana. ISTC is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, South Korea, Norway and the United States. It facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

Apart from him, Director General of the IAEA Yukiya Amano, the Foreign Ministers of P5+1 as well as top managers of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, are expected to attend the ceremony. 

By Assel Satubaldina


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