STATEMENT BY THE CUBAN DELEGATION AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE FIRST COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY. New York, 9 October 2012.
The Cuban delegation congratulates itself on seeing you leading the work of this Committee, and extends its congratulations to you and the rest of the Bureau on your election.
We fully endorse the statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
We likewise support the statement made by Chile on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
This year we have witnessed an increased financing for subversive plans against legitimately established governments; an exacerbation of religious intolerance and conflicts through regime-change policies that support the geopolitical interests of major powers; conflicts that have been stirred up even through transfers of illicit arms to non-State actors and the employment of mercenaries, all that in blatant violation of international obligations and the principles of the UN Charter.
We are facing a global economic crisis in which bailout formulae that reduce public expenditures and result in less resources to ensure the fundamental rights of the poorest sectors, are applied.
Amidst that international panorama, the global military expenditures remain unacceptable and unjustifiable, with figures in 2011 estimated at 1738 billion dollars.
Therefore Cuba reiterates its proposal to destine at least half of the current military expenditures to meeting economic and social development needs, through an UN-managed fund.
Sixty-six years after the UN General Assembly, in its first Resolution, sought “the elimination of… major weapons adaptable to mass destruction”, the international peace and security and the human species continue to be threatened by the existence of over 20 thousand warheads.
It is unacceptable that “nuclear deterrence” remains the bedrock of military doctrines that authorize the possession and use of nuclear arsenals.
The only guarantee that nuclear weapons will not be used by States or anyone else is their complete elimination and prohibition, under strict international control.
Nuclear powers continue failing to comply with their obligation under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), to negotiate an international treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons, and instead continue improving their nuclear arsenals, in a vertical proliferation of which little is said.
Concrete steps should be promoted and agreed upon to completely eliminate and prohibit nuclear weapons in a binding, non-discriminatory, transparent, verifiable and irreversible manner.
It is also a priority to initiate international negotiations to conclude, as early as possible, a treaty that offers universal and unconditional security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of said weapons.
The establishment of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones is a necessary and important contribution to the disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation efforts. We support the establishment without delay of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East.
We note with satisfaction the successful conclusion of the first session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2015 NPT Review Conference that took place in Vienna last May. In that regard, we urge to renew the commitment with a view to the second session of the Preparatory Committee to be held in Geneva in 2013.
The Non-Aligned Movement submitted a proposal that deserves consideration, which includes a plan of action to establish a well-defined schedule for gradually reducing nuclear weapons until their total elimination and prohibition by 2025 at the latest.
We endorse the position reaffirmed by NAM in its 16th Summit recently held in Iran, which highlights nuclear disarmament as the highest disarmament priority.
Cuba supports the efforts to optimize the UN disarmament machinery, but is certain that the paralysis affecting a great extent of that machinery is mainly the result of the lack of political will by some States to achieve actual progress, in particular on nuclear disarmament.
If the UN disarmament machinery needs to be revitalized, let us then hold the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament without any more obstacles to that process.
It is beneficial to all to have a specialized body of universal membership, like the Disarmament Commission, which allows us to thoroughly deliberate on highly relevant matters.
We are satisfied that the Disarmament Commission has agreed upon the agenda of substantive items for the next three-year cycle, and that the item: “Recommendations for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons” has been included.
Within the disarmament machinery, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) plays an essential role as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum.
We regret the CD has not been able to carry out substantive work for over a decade. Some insist that is because of that body’s working methods and rules of procedure. Cuba does not share such view, for that phenomenon is not exclusive to that body.
We are concerned about the ideas of some to put aside the CD and resort to alternative negotiation processes to negotiate disarmament treaties in other forums, which would entail a dangerous step backwards. We reiterate it is still the responsibility of us all to preserve and strengthen the CD.
The CD should adopt as soon as possible a comprehensive and balanced programme of work that takes into account real disarmament priorities.
Cuba considers that this body is prepared to negotiate simultaneously a treaty that eliminates and prohibits nuclear weapons; prohibits the arms race in outer space; and effectively assure States like Cuba which do not possess nuclear weapons; and another treaty that prohibits the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
My country favors the initiation of negotiations at the CD on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and effectively verifiable treaty that prohibits the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices and that covers the matter of stockpiles.
We consider as well that negotiations on a treaty on fissile material would be a positive measure but insufficient, if subsequent steps are not defined to achieve nuclear disarmament.
Considering the priority given to nuclear disarmament at the First Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament, this issue should be of priority in the CD’s programme of work. The Conference should urgently initiate negotiations on a Convention prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons, providing their destruction, and leading to the complete, non-discriminatory and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons, in accordance with a well-defined schedule.
Cuba reiterates its commitment to the strict implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
The complete and verifiable destruction of chemical arsenals is the most important task of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This Organization plays also a primary role in promoting the economic and technological development of States parties, particularly those less developed.
The Third Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention presents a good opportunity to reaffirm the basic principles and objectives of the Convention, and to preserve the balance among its four fundamental pillars: destruction, verification, assistance and international cooperation.
On the Biological Weapons Convention, Cuba reiterates that the only way to strengthen and improve it is through negotiations and adoption of a legally-binding Protocol that closes off the loopholes this instrument still has.
This year, the international community showed the lack of agreement and consensus at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.
Cuba will follow the discussions held on that matter, convinced that the true success of that process will depend on achieving an instrument resulting from an inclusive and transparent process that duly takes into account the positions and concerns of all States and is acceptable to all delegations. That would be the only way to achieve a solid, universal and thus effective treaty.
We are also satisfied that the Second Review Conference of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all their Aspects has adopted by consensus its outcome documents, which reaffirm the full validity of the Progamme of Action as the appropriate instrument to tackle this scourge.
More concrete progress is required for the promotion and strengthening of international assistance and cooperation in this field, which we consider essential for the effective implementation of the UN Programme of Action.
Allow me to conclude, Mr. Chairman, by renewing to you the full support of the Cuban delegation for your work and the success of the work of this Committee.