Permanent Mission to UN

Statement by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cuba, Ambassador Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, at the Security Council, under Agenda item: "The Situation in Iraq and Kuwait". New York, 18 February 2003.

Mr. President:

The impressive rallies against the war in all the planet on Saturday, 15 February, the opinion polling, the productive and substantial ministerial debate held on 14 February in this Council, the prudence and objectivity of the presentation of the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and of the Director-General of the IAEA, and the almost unanimous support to the courageous, serene and constructive statement by the Foreign Minister of France, express a powerful consensus: peace has to be preserved as the ideal and the raison d'être of the United Nations, and to guarantee to this body the exercise of the overriding and exclusive prerogatives and duties granted by the Charter.

A blue canvas covering Picasso's "Guernica" does not diminish its unavoidable admonition to the Security Council on the exceptional character of the prerogative for the use of force, exerted on behalf of the Member States of the United Nations and upon which, History demands responsibility. It does not either make us forget the horrors which gave birth to the United Nations.

Only 72 hours ago, President Fidel Castro stated:

"These are not days of hope and glory for peace in the world. A war is on the verge of breaking out. This would not be a confrontation between comparable forces. On the one side, there would be the hegemonic superpower, with all of its overwhelming military might and technology, backed by its main ally, another country with nuclear capability and a member of the United Nations Security Council. On the other side, a country whose people have suffered more than ten years of daily bombings and the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, mainly children, through hunger and disease, following an unequal war provoked by Iraq's illegal occupation of Kuwait, which was an independent state recognized by the international community. The vast majority of worldwide public opinion is unanimously opposed to a new war. Above all, they are opposed to the adoption of a unilateral decision by the United States government in complete disregard for international rules and the power and authority of the United Nations, as limited as they already are. This is an unnecessary war, under pretexts that are neither credible nor proven."

"Completely debilitated by the last war against the United States in 1991, Iraq (…) completely lacks the capacity to counteract the offensive and defensive weaponry wielded by the United States, fully capable of wiping out any risk".

We have the absolute conviction that there isn't any risk for that country, nor for its friends in the region and that it would be an unnecessary war.

The consequences of an unnecessary and unjustified military action in Iraq would be extremely serious. As foreseen, the humanitarian catastrophe could be massive and terrible. Deaths and destruction are unpredictable. Nobody could calculate its duration. The economic and political effects on a world under global recession would have an enormous impact, especially on developing countries, that already pay increased oil prices that are disastrous for their economies, and which would rise to even more exorbitant levels after the first missile were launched. It would be an unnecessary war.

Mr. President:

Iraq has cooperated unquestionably with the inspectors and confirmed its will to complete the implementation of all the significant Resolutions of the Security Council, to eliminate thereby any doubt regarding the possibility for that country to still possess weapons of mass destruction. It has recently accepted further components of inspection and adopted new legal and executive measures, which has been favorably embraced by the international community, with the only exception of those who seem, beforehand, determined to carry out military actions at any cost and with hegemonic objectives, based on the control of energetic resources, and domestic policy.

The resolutions should be implemented in good faith by all parts to advance towards an integral settlement on the question of Iraq, which guarantees peace and stability in the region and includes the lifting of the sanctions regime that causes so much suffering to the Iraqi people.

The sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq and Kuwait, as well as, that of all the countries in the region, should be respected.

The Summit of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries will surely make a decisive contribution for peace.

Mr. President:

Cuba defends International Law for considering it the only viable guarantee for peace and international security. We believe the world should be ruled by a collective security system, based on cooperation providing guarantee to us all. That system cannot be replaced by "The Law of the Jungle", to benefit the mightiest ones and, ultimately, the only superpower.

The unipolar, unsustainable, unfair and deeply inequitable international order, cannot be followed by an even more primitive, unstable, unpredictable and dangerous one.

The new doctrine of "pre-emptive attack", attempted to be imposed, advocates for the right to the threat and the use of force in international relations, and the right to unilateral military action against other States, in advance and facing undetermined and indefinite threats.

This constitutes a flagrant violation of the spirit and the letter of the UN Charter and intends to turn the inherent right of self-defense included in Article 51 of the Charter, into a carte blanche.

It is very dangerous attempting to solve national security concerns through unilateral actions or unverified accusations, instead of doing so through cooperation among the States Parties of the Treaties and the use of well-defined procedures in these treaties, aimed at that objective.

Cuba, who has been a victim through four decades of aggressions and the belligerency of the nuclear superpower; who has never developed and has the firm determination to never develop weapons of mass destruction, nuclear or of any other kind; reiterates that the general and complete disarmament, especially nuclear disarmament, is the only possible path to peace, and reaffirms that the use of such weapons under any circumstances, the improvement of those arsenals, the proliferation or the search of those capacities, would be an insanity of unpredictable consequences.

Mr. President:

It seems that the United States now promotes in the Security Council a draft resolution designed to make unavoidable a war against Iraq. Such draft resolution would offer continuity to the elements pursuant to Resolution 1441 related to the alleged "ceasefire" of 1991, the concepts of "material breach" and of "serious consequences", that as we warned in due course, were aimed at supporting the interpretation of the "hawks" stating that such Resolution authorizes the use of force in case of an alleged Iraqi failure to fulfillment. Facts have highly confirmed the truthfulness of our warnings.

Along with the consolidation of the opposition to the war in the world, within the United States and the United Kingdom, the risk of a unilateral aggression, however, increases.

Cuba has the firm hope that, among the members of the Security Council, would prevail the fidelity to the legitimate national interests of their countries and the essentially democratic respect for their peoples' will.

The Security Council, hostage so many times to the antidemocratic and arbitrary exercise of veto, now has the opportunity to regain somehow its very damaged credibility, articulating a solid and unbeatable majority in defense of peace. In such a case, it would act with great international support, including the public opinion.

The United Nations would also rely, if such were the case, on the tremendous political, moral and legal force of the General Assembly.

Thank you very much

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