|Permanent Mission of Cuba in Geneva
Cuban Statement Conference on Disarmament September 2015
STATEMENT BY H.E. MRS. ANAYANSI RODRIGUEZ CAMEJO, AMBASSADOR, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF CUBA TO THE OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS IN GENEVA AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS BASED IN SWITZERLAND. Plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament. September 15, 2015. Geneva.
I wish you success in your responsibility while assuming the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament. We also wish to support the statements made by the Group of 21 within the framework of the Conference.
It is unacceptable that 70 years after the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the international community continues to be threatened by the existence of nuclear weapons. The total elimination and prohibition of nuclear weapons is a matter of survival for humanity and the highest priority in the field of disarmament.
The use, intentional or unintentional, of a tiny part of the huge global nuclear arsenal would cause the nuclear winter with incalculable humanitarian consequences and the disappearance of the human species.
The defense doctrines based on the so-called "nuclear deterrence" are unacceptable. At the beginning of 2015 there were still about 15,850 nuclear weapons of which 4,300 were deployed with operational forces; some 1,800 of these weapons remain on high operational alert.
While tens of millions of human beings quietly die, victims of poverty and preventable and curable diseases, 1.8 trillion dollars are currently earmarked for military expenditure to carry out modern wars of conquest that cause thousands of deaths .
Meanwhile, the Conference on Disarmament remains in breach of its mandate as the sole multilateral forum for negotiating treaties on disarmament, and in particular it does so on nuclear disarmament, which was agreed as a priority in 1978 during the First special session of the UN General Assembly devoted to disarmament. We deeply regret that for nearly twenty years no substantive work has been carried out in the Conference and we are convinced that this paralysis is due to the lack of political will on the part of some States to make real progress, particularly on nuclear disarmament.
The failure of the NPT Review Conference and the absence of a final consensus document from the three countries opposition to the issue of establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, is the reflection of this serious situation and the weak content of the section on nuclear disarmament in the draft final document which did not reach agreements at that Conference.
We reaffirm that all States parties to the NPT must comply with the legal obligations under this instrument. The effective implementation of Article VI of the treaty requires the adoption of more specific and measurable actions, with specific timelines.
Cuba will continue to advocate for the adoption of concrete actions to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons at the multilateral level.
As an active member of the Non-Aligned Movement we support the proposal adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 69/58, through which it calls to urgently start negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament, for the early conclusion of a comprehensive Convention on nuclear weapons, prohibiting the possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and provides for their destruction.
However, until the total elimination of nuclear weapons is achieved, it is urgent to agree on a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument to offer assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
Unilateral declarations or "voluntary" pledges are not enough, including those on verification driven by some States.
We recall the historical holding of a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on nuclear disarmament for the first time in 2013 and highlight the importance of the commemoration of the "International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons" every September 26. We also reaffirm that it should be a commitment by all members of the Conference on Disarmament to contribute to the success of the International High-Level Conference of the United Nations on Nuclear Disarmament to be held no later than 2018.
In this context, we recall as another important step toward disarmament that at the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana in January 2014, the Latin America and the Caribbean region was formally proclaimed as a Zone of Peace. That proclamation emphasized the strong commitment of the members of CELAC to the promotion of nuclear disarmament as a priority.
Cuba reaffirms the importance of multilateralism as the core principle in negotiations on disarmament. Our country ratifies its confidence and willingness to negotiate in the CD any topic agreed upon by all the States of this forum.
The modification of the working methods of the Conference on Disarmament and its rules of procedure is not essential to advance negotiations in the CD. Under the present conditions other important legal instruments on disarmament have been negotiated in the past. Cuba reiterates that the political will on the part of some States is the key to make real progress at the Conference, particularly on nuclear disarmament, although we are open to optimizing its working methods, including the participation of the civil society.
Cuba calls the Conference on Disarmament to adopt a comprehensive and balanced program of work that takes into account the real priorities on nuclear disarmament and overcome the status quo of inaction that benefits only a few.
The Conference on Disarmament is ready to negotiate multiple issues simultaneously, including a treaty to eliminate and prohibit nuclear weapons; one banning an arms race in the outer space; another to provide effective security guarantees for States which, like Cuba, are non-nuclear weapons States; and a treaty banning the production of fissile material.
Cuba supports the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of all fissile material suitable for military use and that includes the disclosing of all stocks of fissile material and their irreversible disposal within an agreed timetable; as well as future production of this material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The negotiation of a treaty on this issue would be a positive but insufficient measure if subsequent steps are not defined to achieve nuclear disarmament.
We call to immediately halt any plans for the militarization of outer space and cyberspace. We believe that the prevention of an arms race in outer space is a priority, as well as preventing the deployment of weapons on the same; legally binding agreements are needed to keep outer space free of any weapons development. The draft Treaty presented to the Conference on Disarmament by Russia and China in 2008, in its revised version in 2014, is a good basis for further discussions and undertaking negotiations in this regard. We support the negotiations within the CD on a legally binding treaty totally banning the possibility of developing an arms race in outer space.
Moreover, we condemn the covert and illegal use by individuals, organizations and States of computer systems of other nations to attack third countries given its potential to cause international conflicts. The use of new information technologies and communications (ICT) must be fully consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and the International Law.
Finally I would like to reiterate that there can be no higher priority for the Conference on Disarmament than to secure the total prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth. Cuba will continue to work tirelessly to achieve that goal.