Permanent Mission to UN

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Cuba, Ambassador Orlando Requeijo Gual, in the Informal Thematic Consultation on Cluster II of the Report A/59/2005 submitted by the UN Secretary General. New York, 22 April 2005.

Mr. Facilitators,

We join the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Malaysia on behalf of NAM. Likewise, we would like to avail ourselves of this opportunity to express more details about our position on certain questions included in the Report of the UN Secretary General.

Mr. Facilitators,

Despite being peace the central concept of the UN Charter, it is practically not included in the Report, whereas the concept of security is promoted, which is vaguer and allows to blur the centrality of the Charter.

Likewise, mentions of sovereignty are very scarce and controversial in the document, while it seems to question that the UN is basically an intergovernmental organization conceived to defend States. Consequently, the central category of the system and of public international law is intended to disappear: sovereignty and equality among States.

The Report attempts to stamp a group of controversial precepts while basic principles of International Law are unknown, such as those of sovereignty and the non-interference in internal affairs, or it subordinates them to the implementation of alleged principles of human rights defense, individual freedom and protection of the vulnerable.

We reiterate that the proposal of making the collective security system more effective throughout greater strengthening of the Security Council at the cost of diminishing the role of the other main bodies, particularly that of the General Assembly does not seem appropriate. The Security Council should not be transformed into a body where texts with similar scope to those of the international treaties are adopted.

The United Nations Charter shall be fully respected and not reinterpreted. In this sense, what the Report points on Article 51 represents a dangerous reinterpretation of it, which would offer enough flexibility to enhance wars and pre-emptive attacks that -although unleashed by the world superpower- do not fail to be illegal and condemnable. Hence, we reject the attempt to broaden the scope of such article to include the question of the so-called "imminent threats", as it would not only weaken multilateralism but also contradicts basic principles contained in the Charter itself.

As regards the recommendation that the Security Council adopts a resolution which regulates the use of force, we would like to stress that decision-making on this matter is only of the competence of the General Assembly. Nevertheless, International Law makes clear that in exceptional circumstances the use of force and the principles governing it may be resorted to, as established in the UN Charter, in Resolution 2625 and in judgments and advisory opinions of the International Court of Justice.

Mr. Facilitators,

The Report's specific considerations and proposals related to the issue of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control lack a comprehensive and balanced approach. Issues related to horizontal non-proliferation are privileged, omitting almost totally the issue of disarmament and vertical non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear ones.

It would seem that peace and international security are not jeopardized by the development of new kinds of nuclear weapons and the existence of strategic defense doctrines which increasingly lie in the possession and use of these kinds of weapons, as the called Nuclear Posture Review of the United States or NATO Alliance's Strategic Concept, which foresee new circumstances for the use of nuclear weapons, including the widening of the scope of the use or threat to use force.

The important nuclear disarmament issue is only covered in a timid and dilute way. None of the concrete recommendations really propose nuclear disarmament measures.

Limiting the analysis of disarmament and non-proliferation issues to the horizontal edge of the latter results in the fact that some of the concrete recommendations tend to restrict the inalienable right of all States to the peaceful use of agents, equipment and technology in the nuclear, chemical and biological field, particularly in the first. As a matter of fact, some of such recommendations represent serious questionings and new conditions to this right.

None of the Report's recommendations propose concrete assistance and cooperation measures to promote and make effective the peaceful use of agents, materials, technologies and equipment in the nuclear, chemical and biological fields, particularly to promote developing countries' socio-economic development.

On the other hand, the treatment of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control-related issues are not excluded, as in the rest of the Report, from the danger of the tendency of granting the UN Security Council prerogatives and functions that escape the mandate entrusted to it by the Charter, even to the detriment of existing international treaties and organizations on weapons of mass destruction.

Just to state an example, paragraph 105 (Section C Part III of the Report) attempts to subordinate international agencies, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the scrutiny of the Security Council and this is unacceptable. In any case, a relation of cooperation and coordination between the UN and such international agencies through the General Assembly is what shall exist. Bringing a concrete case before the Security Council shall be a prerogative and a decision of those Agencies' Member States, according to what is established in their Statutes, Constitutive Charter or Rules of Law.

The general analysis and concrete recommendations contained in the Report in terms of the chemical and biological fields, is superficial and very limited. For example, although it is recommended that States take new measures to continue strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the fact that the most effective and sustainable way of strengthening such convention is through negotiation and conclusion of an international legally binding instrument allowing the verification of the fulfillment of all its provisions, is ignored. On the contrary, in paragraph 104 (Section C Part III of the Report) there is an attempt to approach and revitalize mechanisms offering more prerogatives to the UN Secretary General and to the Security Council in the issue of the verification of the fulfillment of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). As regards this question there is no consensus among States Parties on such Convention.

The tendency of trying to grant functions and prerogatives in the verification of the fulfillment of disarmament treaties, specifically within the context of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which totally escapes from their specific mandate and functions, to specialized UN agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) is also of concern. Cuba acknowledges the support to States Parties in the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which can be offered by organizations such as WHO and FAO, among others, in the surveillance, detection, diagnose and struggle against infectious diseases. Nevertheless, it should be clear that the main responsibility in this regard falls on States Parties in the Convention and that the role of such organizations shall be strictly limited to their respective mandates and competence fields.

As regards the chemical field, the concrete measures proposed in the Report are partial and limited. They ignore the comprehensive and balanced approach characterizing the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Report's welcoming to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is unfortunate and of concern, as it is a non-transparent mechanism of selective composition, designed only by some States and which acts on the fringes of the United Nations and related international treaties.

Cuba's position regarding Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) is well known. Hence, in this occasion I will limit to reiterate that it deeply concerns us that such Council, a body of limited composition where some members have a right to the veto, continues to assume prerogatives and functions not entrusted to it, particularly in terms of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. Resolution 1540 refers to an issue that shall continue to be considered in the framework of the traditional multilateral disarmament machinery where there is appropriate space to negotiate a legally binding instrument. International legal obligations, including this field, shall not be created for Member States without their full participation and sovereign agreement throughout the signing and ratification of the corresponding treaties and multilaterally negotiated agreements.

The only warranty that terrorists will not seize weapons of mass destruction is the total prohibition and elimination of these kinds of weapons, especially nuclear ones. The proliferation issue shall be settled by political and diplomatic means within the framework of International Law, including the UN Charter.

On the other hand, when covering the question of small arms and light weapons, illicit and licit arms seem to be given identical treatment, not taking appropriately into account the right of all States to possess small arms and light weapons for their needs of legitimate defense and security. Any concrete recommendation in this matter shall de confined to the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, which the international community has agreed on a specific consensus.

Regarding anti-personnel land-mines, it is our concern that in paragraph 121 (section D, Part III of the Report) the States, which have not adhered to the Ottawa Convention and to the Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, are explicitly requested to do so. This is unacceptable for our country due to well known reasons.

Mr. Facilitators,

The Cuban delegation reiterates that the struggle against terrorism shall be carried out in a comprehensive and global way under the basis of collective cooperation and within the framework of respect for the United Nations Charter and the principles of International Law, particularly of International Humanitarian Law and human rights.

The adoption of a General Convention on international terrorism is an unpostponable necessity. It shall contain a clear and accurate definition of the crime of terrorism, including all the kinds and manifestations this phenomenon adopts, foresee this crime's material and mental elements and entail responsibility for natural and legal people.

Likewise, State Terrorism continues to worry Cuba and we consider that the activities of the armed forces of a State, not regulated by International Humanitarian Law, shall not be excluded from the implementation scope of this future General Convention. There shall also be clear distinction between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of the peoples for their independence and in defense of their right to self-determination. Member States are entitled to determine the elements to be contained in this definition of terrorism, whose negotiation should be undertaken within the Special Committee established by Resolution 51/210 of the General Assembly, where first and foremost all proposals presented by Member States should be taken into account.

We support the idea of planning a comprehensive strategy against terrorism, with the United Nations as center. Nevertheless, such strategy shall specifically include the original causes of terrorism.

Mr. Facilitators,

Despite the fact that we generally agree on helping and collaborating with countries arising from inner conflicts; we consider that in the Report, peace-building is presented as a belated resource.

As regards the proposal referring to Peace-building Commission, we will just state that Cuba would be able to evaluate its implementation as long as it is not a subsidiary body of the Security Council. Taking into account that only a few days ago the Secretary General's explanatory note on the Commission was circulated, my delegation plans to refer in detail to this issue in the thematic consultations relevant to Cluster IV.

The question on sanctions is covered briefly in the Report, making emphasis on the so-called intelligent sanctions. However, like in the rest of the Security Council's activities, the sanction regimes are not free of double standards and are many times used in a selective way, aiming at ousting governments which do not please the interests of certain superpowers. On the other hand, when imposing sanctions, special attention should be devoted to the consequences these have on the civil population, which is generally the most affected by these sanctions.

Mr. Facilitators,

Lastly, I wish to reiterate the necessity to devote more time to the thematic consultation process. Correspondingly, we consider that future proposals of the facilitators shall result from intergovernmental agreement and not from the interpretation of emerging consensus which ignore positions presented by different countries.

Our delegation will present specific proposals in due time.

I conclude my statement, Mr. Facilitators, reiterating my delegation's willingness to actively participate in this important process.

Thank you very much.

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