Statement by the Deputy Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, H.E Mr. Orlando Requeijo Gual, at the UN General Assembly Plenary, under Agenda item14: "Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency". New York, 11 November 2002.
We thank Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei for his presentation of the annual report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (A/57/L.14). We also wish to welcome the entry of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Seychelles to the IAEA membership.
Following up on the announcement made by the Minister for Foreign Relations of Cuba on 14 September 2002 to the General Assembly, the Government of the Republic of Cuba proceeded to deposit the instruments of adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on 4 November 2002, in Moscow.
With the Cuban adherence, 188 States are now parties to that international instrument.
At the time of adherence, Cuba reiterated its position of principle to the effect that military doctrines based on the possession of nuclear weapons are unacceptable. It also reaffirmed its criteria that no country or group of countries should be allowed a monopoly over nuclear weapons or over their quantitative or qualitative development.
Cuba is convinced that the only way to overcome the original flaws of the NPT and its selective and discriminatory essence is by achieving the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
In complying with the provisions of the NPT, the legitimate right of States to have full access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes must also be respected. Therefore, the imposition of restrictive unilateral measures on the exchange of equipment, supplies and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy must also cease.
Cuba's decision to become a State party to the NPT reaches beyond its national interests and is a clear indication of the political will and the commitment of the Cuban Government to promoting and strengthening the United Nations, multilateralism and international treaties on disarmament and arms control.
As a State party to the NPT, Cuba intends to become actively involved in the preparatory process for the next NPT Review Conference and to work together with other States that, like Cuba, aspire to achieving total elimination under strict international monitoring of all nuclear weapons.
On 23 October in Mexico City, the Government of Cuba also deposited its instruments of ratification of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco, along with all its amendments. With Cuba's ratification, the Treaty of Tlatelolco enters fully into force throughout its area of application and Latin America and the Caribbean will thus be formally declared the first inhabited area of the planet free of nuclear weapons.
Cuba signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco on 25 March 1995, essentially as an act of solidarity with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, despite the fact that the United States, the sole nuclear Power in the Americas, was pursuing a policy of hostility against us and tightening its economic, trade and financial blockade, while maintaining by force and against the will of the Cuban people the illegal occupation of a part of our national territory.
As we ratify the Treaty of Tlatelolco, these obstacles remain in place and are even increasing. However, in contrast to the interest of the global super-Power in ensuring the prevalence of unilateralism in the resolution of international problems, Cuba is once again demonstrating its commitment to promoting and strengthening multilateralism and international disarmament and arms control treaties. The step Cuba has taken also contributes to regional efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and international peace and security.
Cuba attaches great importance to the IAEA's work and reiterates the need to attain an appropriate balance among the three fundamental pillars of that organization's work: technical cooperation, security and verification. We welcome the fact that, following a prolonged deadlock, the target figure for the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund will be increased for the biennium 2003-2004. We hope that this figure will continue to rise in the future in correspondence with the real and growing needs of the recipient countries. It is essential that the IAEA maintain a Technical Cooperation Fund marked by constant, predictable and secure growth.
Cuba maintains a major technical cooperation programme with the IAEA and has always made the optimum use of allocated resources. Such resources have been directed into our country's priority programmes in such spheres as human health, agriculture and industry and the implementation of these projects has had a significant impact.
Cuba reaffirms its support for the Regional Cooperative Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL), which it recently ratified. We view the ARCAL programme as the ideal framework for cooperation among the countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region. In the context of our firm will to promote the important work of ARCAL, Cuba will organize the fourth meeting of its Technical Coordination Board, to be held in Havana in May next year.
Cuba believes that the IAEA can and must play a very important role in fighting nuclear terrorism. That is why we support the efforts of the IAEA to undertake programmes and activities to protect against nuclear terrorism, without prejudice to the human and financial resources earmarked for sustainable socio-economic development.
We support the proposal to establish voluntary funds for extrabudgetary contributions to finance new activities, such as the campaign against nuclear terrorism. At the same time, it is important to preserve the voluntary funds that are currently devoted to IAEA technical cooperation, which many developing countries so urgently need.
Thank you very much