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Statement by Mrs. Juana Elena Ramos, Alternate Head of the Cuban delegation to the Convention of Biological Weapons . Item 7.

Statement by Mrs. Juana Elena Ramos Rodriguez, Ambassador, Alternate Head of the Cuban delegation. Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. Item 7: Cooperation and assistance with special emphasis on the strengthening of cooperation and assistance under Article 10. December 15, 2015. Geneva, Switzerland.

Mister President: 

Cuba fully endorses the statement on this point by the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Our country considers the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of Article 10 essential for achieving the objective and purpose of the Convention and for the economic and technological development of the States Parties as a key priority. 

Given the importance and priority that Cuba gives to Article 10 of the Convention, three papers on this topic were presented at the Meeting of Experts and offers and specific requests have been presented for cooperation to the database.

Mister President: 

We cannot ignore that there are marked disparities between the States Parties to the Convention that could be reduced through the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of Article 10. Developed countries should promote international cooperation for the benefit of the developing States Parties through the transfer of technology, material and equipment for peaceful purposes in the field of biology as well as the elimination of any and all restrictions that violate the letter and spirit of the Convention. 

It is an obligation of the States Parties to promote the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the use of biological agents and toxins for peaceful purposes and not to hamper the economic and technological development. 

In this sense, it is unacceptable any attempt to condition the international cooperation through the creation and promotion of arbitrary mechanisms on export control and transfers. Cuba does not favor the establishment of unilateral, discriminatory and selective export controls and transfer outside the framework of the Convention. 

Mister President:

Cuba, like the other members of NAM and other States Parties to the Convention, supports the resumption of negotiations on a legally binding and multilaterally negotiated Protocol that includes the basic pillars of the Convention, among them assistance and cooperation.

While recognizing the successes achieved by the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention in international cooperation, we believe that much remains to advance in the matter. In particular, we regret the absence of an appropriate mechanism to facilitate the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the use of biological agents and toxins for peaceful purposes. 

Mister President: 

Cuba participates, as far as possible, in the exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of biological agents and toxins, and has cooperated, in conjunction with other States and international organizations or institutions, to the development and application of scientific discoveries in the field of biology for the prevention of diseases, and for other peaceful purposes. 

Generally, in most cases, the participation of Cuba is given in the contribution of knowledge, due to the development achieved by the country on the subject of vaccines. We have cooperated and we reiterate our willingness to cooperate, to promote scientific exchange in biological and technological sciences for biosafety and biosecurity, surveillance and detection of infectious diseases or that affect humans, animals and plants under the regional and international development for the use of science and technology for peaceful purposes. 

We have offered to the States Parties concerned courses, seminars, conferences and other workshops, including training, biosafety and other issues related to the implementation of the Convention. We may also assist in the training of personnel of the States concerned to provide such courses in their countries of origin. Likewise, we offer the assistance of Cuban experts in biosafety and biosecurity for the control of biological agents.

Mister President:

Despite the positive step taken with regard to the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, we must say that the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for more than 50 years, is the main obstacle facing Cuba today for a wider international cooperation in the area of biological activities, including the international exchange in biological science and technology for peaceful purposes.

The framework of extraterritorial laws and measures that make up the blockade sets up, among other disparate measures, restrictions on the acquisition by Cuban hospitals, institutes and research centers of medicines, laboratory reagents, vaccines, personal protective equipment, diagnostics for infectious diseases, components of culture media and diagnostics in general for the detection of biological agents which can cause serious epidemics. It also hinders the acquisition of equipment of US origin or produced by subsidiaries of American companies in third countries.

All these unilateral restrictions constitute a violation of Article 10 of the Convention. Therefore, creating a mechanism for reporting and resolving such restrictions as part of a larger instrument would be a concrete measure that would allow a further step in the still distant way of a full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of Article 10. 

Thank you. 

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