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UNITED NATIONS -- The UN ambassadors of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan said on March 31 that their countries have ratified the treaty on a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, which came into force on March 21, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Kyrgyz UN Ambassador Nurbek Jienbaev said that approval of the treaty by the five Central Asian countries confirms that they oppose nuclear proliferation.

Kazakh UN Ambassador Bergelim Aitimova said that work on the nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia began in 1993 and that the status they have proclaimed is a type of defense against a nuclear attack by other countries.

Tajik UN Ambassador Sirojiddin Aslov said the foreign ministers of the five Central Asian countries signed the treaty in September 2006 and in the next two months they will meet again in Dushanbe to discuss future steps.

Last week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the Central Asian countries on their establishment of the nuclear-weapon-free zone.
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