Permanent Mission to UN

Statement by the delegate of Cuba to the First Committee, Mr. Oscar León, under Agenda items 64 to 84: "Action on all draft resolutions submitted under all items". New York, 30 October 2001.

Mr. Chairman:

As I understand we can make general comments on draft resolutions in cluster 1, my delegation has asked for the floor in order to make clear once again its general position on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). We feel it is appropriate to make this general statement so as to avoid as much as possible repeating explanations of vote when the Committee takes action on draft resolutions and separate paragraphs, included in this cluster, that refer in one way or another to the NPT. However, we reserve the right to make additional explanations on specific votes when certain draft resolutions or separate paragraphs referring to the NPT are adopted, if we deem it necessary.

The NPT is essentially discriminatory. It legitimizes the possession of nuclear weapons by a very small select club of countries, as it were. The nuclear Powers legitimized by the NPT do not even have to subject their installations and nuclear arsenals to international safeguards. Moreover, the Treaty does not prohibit vertical proliferation, thus allowing the nuclear Powers it recognizes to constantly develop their weapons. That is why Cuba has not yet acceded to the NPT. Our country will continue, in an open and transparent way, to develop its nuclear programme for peaceful purposes and will tirelessly seek nuclear disarmament and the elimination of all nuclear weapons. This is the only way to ensure that the existence of humanity is no longer at risk.

Although it is not a party to the NPT, all Cuba's nuclear installations are presently under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. We respect all the rules and regulations scrupulously. In 1999, in particular, Cuba signed an additional protocol under the IAEA safeguards regime. Cuba's decision to participate as an observer at the Sixth Review Conference of the NPT once again demonstrated the interest and serious-mindedness with which my country has been following all issues involving disarmament and non-proliferation.

Some States, fortunately a minority, have expressed great optimism as a result of the Sixth Conference. We fully respect the right of all countries to reach their own conclusions. But we do not think that we should rest on our laurels especially as no deadline has been established to eliminate the 35,000 remaining nuclear weapons that today threaten us all.
For these reasons, Cuba will not vote in favour of certain draft resolutions and separate paragraphs in this cluster that refer to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and do not accord with our position.

Thank you very much.

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