The following statement was issued today by the United States, and Kazakhstan in Astana.
For twenty years the United States and Kazakhstan have been partners in the struggle against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. That partnership continues to flourish, as our nations work together to create the conditions for the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
December will mark ten years since former Secretary of State Colin Powell and then Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrissov signed the agreement which provided a legal basis for the existence and continued operation of the Government-to-Government Communications Link (GGCL) between the United States and Kazakhstan for the exchange of arms control treaty notifications.
The GGCL is an instrument of mutual trust and cooperation that provides a reliable and easy way for our two countries share information. It also serves as a back-up capability through which our senior officials can communicate.
These secure, direct links between our two nations are operated in the United States by the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center at the Department of State and in Kazakhstan by the Arms Control and Inspection Activity Support Center of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Across these links, our Centers have exchanged thousands of notifications required by the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (START) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
Today, the United States and Kazakhstan are inaugurating a new phase in our Government to Government Communication Link.
The United States and Kazakhstan are modernizing the GGCLs to operate as a cost-effective, internet-based, secure Virtual Private Network (VPN), a first for our bilateral GGCLs.
This new digital connection simplifies the current GGCL network. It employs internet-based connectivity which will provide further communication capabilities, flexibility and enhanced reliability. Modernization will also permit the system to accommodate new responsibilities, as needed.
The commitment of the United States and Kazakhstan to maintaining and upgrading the GGCL is symbolic of the importance both nations attach to that partnership in arms control and non-proliferation, and to the enduring nature of that partnership.