WHEN KAZAKHSTAN is mentioned, most people think of one thing: oil. As the principal source of Caspian energy, Kazakhstan supplies world markets directly through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium.
Opened in September, this pipeline has a capacity of 1 million barrels a day. Furthermore, Kashagan field has been acclaimed as the most significant new discovery of reserves in the past quarter-century.
When President Bush met with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the White House in December, they discussed Kazakhstan's new role in world energy and the campaign against terrorism. The meeting resulted in a joint statement that affirmed their strategic partnership and a US intention to help Kazakhstan integrate more fully into the global economy.
While this meeting addressed important goals, it should also have underlined the significant role Kazakhstan has played in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Nazarbayev now has an opportunity to extend that legacy by leading the negotiations for the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty.