Kazakhstan, CTBTO present ATOM Project

Representatives from Kazakhstan and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization presented an international campaign on Monday to ban nuclear weapons tests during the 41st session of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.

The ATOM Project, which stands for "Abolish Testing. Our Mission," was launched on August 29, 2012, by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the International Organizations in Vienna presented the ATOM Project in cooperation with the CTBTO during an event on the margins of the commission.

Lassina Zerbo, the executive secretary of the CTBTO, said that nuclear testing threatens peace, security and sustainable development. Zerbo also said that the suffering of victims exposed to radiation, environmental degradation and economic loss cannot be forgotten.

"The ATOM Project is an expression of the strength of the people of Kazakhstan: in suffering, they found determination; in despair, they found awareness; in tragedy, they found firm conviction of a better world," Zerbo said. "While telling the stories of the survivors of nuclear tests, the ATOM Project creates awareness of the human and environmental cost of nuclear testing, and acts as a strong voice for millions of citizens all over the world united in their desire to stop nuclear testing forever and to choose a different future."

Roman Vassilenko, the ambassador-at-large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, discussed the history of Kazakhstan's disarmament and the disposal of Soviet nuclear weapons. He presented the ATOM Project to attendees of the event.

"We have seen unwavering support for the ATOM Project, both in our country and internationally," Vassilenko said. "Already, people from more than 100 countries have signed the petition. But we can and must achieve greater results, and we will continue our efforts in earnest. And we will continue calling on all people of good will to support the АТОМ Project and make the realization of a nuclear-weapons-free world our primary purpose."

The ATOM Project and an exhibition of paintings by Karipbek Kuyukov called "Looking for Peace" were scheduled to be presented in Krems, Austria, on Thursday.