Statement by Ambassador Ana Silvia Rodríguez Abascal, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations at the Inaugural Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission. New York, 5 April 2016.
We congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the Disarmament Commission during the substantive sessions of this year. We extend our congratulations to the members of the Bureau and the chairmen of the working groups. We wish you all every success in the exercise of your responsibilities and we guarantee our cooperation.
The Cuban delegation fully supports the statement delivered by the Indonesian delegation on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the one delivered by the delegation of Dominican Republic on behalf of CELAC.
Cuba reaffirms the importance of the Disarmament Commission as the specialized organ within the multilateral disarmament machinery of the United Nations, which enables deep deliberations on disarmament specific issues, to make concrete recommendations in this field.
The existence of over 15 000 nuclear weapons, out of which 4 300 are ready to be deployed, is a threat to the very survival of the human race.
The wider international support for nuclear disarmament was reiterated last 26 September, when the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was held for the second time.
In like manner, it has been endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, when the vast majority of its Members requested the urgent beginning of negotiations for a prompt conclusion of a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons that provides their total prohibition and destruction.
The ever growing interest in the priority goal of nuclear disarmament was ratified during the 70th Session of the General Assembly with the adoption of four new resolutions on: the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, the humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, the ethical imperatives for a nuclear-weapon-free world and the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.
We support the works of the open-ended working group, which was established as well during the 70th Session of the General Assembly with the mandate to address, in a substantive manner, the issue relevant to the effective and concrete measures, provisions and legal norms we need to adopt, in order to attain and maintain a world free of nuclear weapons.
Likewise, we support the work of the open-ended working group for the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, established during the 70th Session of the General Assembly.
Cuba calls to seize these forums, with the specific mandate for each of them, including the work of the Working Group of this Commission on “Recommendations for achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.”
We recall the convening made by the General Assembly, with the support of the large majority of Member States, to a High-Level International Conference by 2018 at the very latest, to identify means and methods to eliminate nuclear weapons in the shortest period possible, and agree on a staged programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specific timeframe.
We deeply regret that NPT Conference has failed to attain an agreement, despite the willingness and determination to make progress shown by the overwhelming majority of States Parties to this Treaty.
The lack of political will of some States, including certain nuclear-weapon States and others protected under the so-called “nuclear umbrella”, caused this failure along with the situation of non-compliance with the provisions of the Treaty and the agreements reached at the NPT Review Conferences of 1995; 2000 and 2010.
It is about time nuclear disarmament stops being a postponed and relegated goal. It is urgent that nuclear-weapon States comply with their unequivocal commitment to totally eliminate their nuclear arsenals to achieve the priority goal of nuclear disarmament. Political will and determined participation of the international community is required, especially that of nuclear-weapon States, to move towards the elimination and prohibition of nuclear weapons in an irreversible, transparent and verifiable manner.
Our country demands nuclear-weapon States to comply with the commitments adopted under Article VI of theTreaty and immediately implement the 13 practical steps agreed upon in the 2000 NPT Review Conference, to achieve nuclear disarmament and the Action Plan adopted at the 2010 Review Conference.
We reaffirm the inalienable right of States to develop research, production and peaceful use of nuclear energy without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I, II, III, and IV of the NPT. We further reaffirm the commitment of all signatory Parties to the NPT to enable the participation in the exchange of equipment, materials, as well as scientific and technological information for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Cuba deplores the failure to comply with the agreement on holding an International Conference for the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Cuba reiterates that the holding of this conference is an important and integral part of the final outcome of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Besides being an important contribution to attaining the nuclear disarmament goal, the establishment of such zone would mean a transcendental step towards the peace process in the Middle East region. We call for this Conference is held without further delay.
Our country has reiterated that the only guarantee, avoiding the use or the threat to use nuclear weapons by States or individuals, would be their complete elimination and prohibition, under strict international control. Therefore, we cannot accept that “nuclear deterrence” remains the basis of military doctrines authorizing the possession and use of nuclear arsenals. Likewise, the deployment of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon States in non-nuclear-weapons States is alarming, for in practice, the number of “nuclear-weapons States” grows bigger.
Cuba opposes the streamlining and modernization of the existing nuclear weapons and the development of new types of such weapons, which is out of line with the obligations of nuclear disarmament. We also oppose all test involving nuclear weapons, including those carried out by means of supercomputers and other sophisticated non-explosive methods.
Cuba demands an end to the political manipulation about non-proliferation based on double standards, and to the existence of a privileged club that continues to streamline their nuclear weapons, while they try to question the inalienable right of South countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Concerning the Practical Confidence-building Measures in the Field of Conventional Weapons, Cuba believes these voluntary measures are a way to strengthen international peace and security; they should be adopted under strict observance of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and respecting the specific security concerns of States.
Cuba recognizes the contribution of the confidence-building measures to disarmament and arms control; it reiterates, however, that those are not an alternative to disarmament.
Cuba strongly rejects the prorogation of the arbitrary and aggressive Executive Order issued by the President of the United States against the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and demands the removal of the said Order. We resolutely and loyally reiterate the unconditional support of the Cuban government and people to the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Cuba believes that this kind of measures does not contribute to an environment of confidence in the region and undermines the Postulates of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as Zone of Peace, adopted at the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held in Havana, in January 2014.
The government and people of Cuba are proud and honored to belong to the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, a region that is not only the first densely populated zone free of nuclear weapons as the result of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, but also proclaimed as Zone of Peace.
We demand respect for the said Proclamation aimed at banishing forever the use or threat to use force in our region.
Cuba is willing to continue working hectically in order to attain concrete results in the work of this important Commission. We hope that by the end of this cycle, the Commission is able to furnish the General Assembly with concrete proposals.
I thank you very much.