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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhstan Denies Nuclear Aim

The Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan denied comments from a former high official that the country has the ability to make weapons of mass destruction, Interfax reported Monday.

Former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin told journalists in Washington last week that his country could produce weapons of mass destruction within 12 months.

But he did not specifically say Kazakh officials have plans to produce nuclear or chemical weapons.

After leaving the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan gave its Soviet-made nuclear weapons to Russia. The United States is helping to destroy its left-over weapons facilities.

Kazhegeldin has been in a dispute with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. In his comments, he compared Nursultan to a dictator.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry issued a statement denying Kazhegeldin's comments, and saying the government has no plans to build weapons of mass destruction.