ASTANA – Jordan’s King Abdullah II became on Wednesday the first recipient of an international peace prize created by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to recognize those who have a significant impact on the advancement of global goodwill and security.
“As the country that said ‘no’ to nuclear weapons and as the country that shut down its nuclear test site, given the authority of King Abdullah in global policy and his contribution to many issues (related to world peace), the commission has decided to present him the first award,” Nazarbayev said during the ceremony.
The Kazakh leader presented the Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World and Global Security to King Abdullah II during a ceremony at the Akorda presidential palace in Astana.
The award pays tribute to the king’s peace initiatives, including his leadership for security and nuclear disarmament in the Middle East.
King Abdullah II’s reign has been characterized by his commitment to world peace and security, which has been reflected in his efforts to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Syria.
The Hashemite kingdom has stood out for its work in the search for a solution to the Syrian war and has taken in close to 1 million Syrian refugees.
In addition, the Jordanian monarch has maintained constant contacts with Israeli and Palestinian officials to achieve a two-state solution.
In October, Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed their interest in working with US President Donald Trump to achieve “real progress” in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Jordanian king has also raised his voice on numerous occasions against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, a very important issue for Kazakhstan since independence, a matter that Abdullah II acknowledged during the ceremony.
“In nuclear disarmament, Kazakhstan set a standard for all countries when it shut down its legacy nuclear arsenal in 1991. It has been an honor to work with you and your country in multiple areas; for global nuclear disarmament and security against terrorist threats, for bilateral economic partnership and growth, and inter-faith co-existence and understanding,” Abdullah II said.
Under President Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan renounced all Soviet-era nuclear weapons, destroyed the Semipalatinsk nuclear test field and joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state.
In addition, the Central Asian country has founded several organizations with the aim of ending weapons of mass destruction, including the Atom Project, which advocates banning atomic weapons testing.
Kazakh Senate President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the creation of the international prize for peace has meant “an additional boost to the movement for a world free of nuclear weapons.”
Astana stated that the award was launched with Nazarbayev’s manifesto, “The World: The 21st Century,” which the Kazakh leader presented last year during the IV Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
“We are holding an anti-nuclear conference in our country today. In view of the role of our state, I established a special prize for those who have distinguished themselves in the fight against nuclear weapons,” Nazarbayev said.