The United States and Kazakhstan have extended an umbrella agreement on bilateral threat reduction activities until 2007. Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich announced the extension December 5 during a two-day visit to Kazakhstan.
The agreement provides the legal basis for activities under the U.S.-funded Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, administered by the Defense Department, and certain threat reduction initiatives run by other departments. Originally approved in December 1993, the umbrella agreement was due to expire December 13. The parties extended the agreement, effective December 13, through an exchange of diplomatic notes, according to a Defense Department official.
The CTR program, initiated by Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar in 1991, combats the threat posed by the collapsed Soviet Union's weapons of mass destruction and related infrastructure. In Kazakhstan, the program has finished most of its major activities, including the destruction of all ICBM silos and heavy bombers, the defense official said. Ongoing threat reduction activities include projects such as the CTR program's dismantlement of a former biological weapons facility at Stepnogorsk and an Energy Department initiative to allow Kazakhstan to maintain installed security upgrades without U.S. assistance.