Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 13, February - March 1997
Kazakstan Parliament Urges Stop to Russia Conventional TestingAlmaty on 4 February, the Parliament of Kazakstan voted not to ratify an October 1996 agreement between Kazakstan and Russia, granting Russia a 10-year lease to continue testing conventional weapons at four sites in the former Soviet republic. According to a Parliamentary statement:
"Every single year of operation on these sites means 50 extra years of ecological and human misery... Arms tests have intensified continuously since 1946, which is worse than at Semipalatinsk [the former Soviet nuclear test site]."
According to a parliamentary report, the conventional testing has contaminated over 25 million acres of land. Reportedly, nearly 200 weapons systems have been tested at the four sites.
The prevailing sentiment of the debate was perhaps summed up in the powerful words of Senator Engels Gabbassov:
"Our country was and remains an immense military complex, a huge open-air laboratory. This must stop..."
Report: Stop the horror of Russian weapons tests, Kazakh MPs say, Agence France-Presse International News, 9 February.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.