Please accept, Ambassador Mr. Collen Vixen Kelapile of Botswana, our congratulations on your election as Chairman of the Fourth Committee. I also wish to extend them to the members of the Bureau.
This year we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The process of decolonization, which made possible the self-determination and independence of many peoples, is one of the most significant chapters in the history of the Organization. More than 80 territories left their colonial past behind and are today Members of the United Nations. While progress has been made, we remain concerned that 60 years after the adoption of the historic "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples", adopted by the General Assembly through its resolution 1514(XV), there still remain 17 colonial territories.
The exceptional working methods adopted due to the COVID-19 did not allow this year for the necessary and fruitful exchange with the administering Powers and Representatives of the territories, which we will have to be taken up immediately as soon as circumstances allow. We call on the United States, the administering Power, to stop ignoring the invitations of the Committee on Decolonization and to become involved in the discussions that this body holds with all stakeholders.
We call upon the administering Powers to fulfill their obligations under Article 73 e of the Charter and to transmit in timely manner up-to-date and appropriate information on the non-self-governing territories.
The colonial question of Puerto Rico has been considered for over 43 years in the Special Committee on Decolonization and as a result 39 resolutions and decisions have been adopted. This year, the Committee passed a new resolution, number 21, adopted without a vote, which among other provisions, reaffirms the inalienable right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and independence, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV).
It has been more than 63 years since Puerto Rico was imposed the so-called status of Free Associated State, which attempted to mask the island's colonial situation. Recently, the great farce was revealed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Congress and even by the government itself, when in 2016, they clearly and unequivocally pointed out that Puerto Rico lacks sovereignty of its own and is completely subject to the powers of Washington, that is, it is a U.S. possession, a colonial territory. There can be no doubt about it, when it became known that the President of that country that colonizes it, was asking one of his advisors, if in the wake of Hurricane María, it would not be better to sell Puerto Rico.
Cuba upholds the right of the people of the Western Sahara to self-determination on the basis of the respect for the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, International Law and the relevant UN resolutions. We call for a mutually acceptable political solution between the parties which envisages the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV).
We express support for the legitimate right of the Republic of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute over the Falkland, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, which are part of its national territory. We reiterate the call for a negotiated, just and definitive solution to the question of the Falkland Islands as soon as possible.
Cuba's commitment to and solidarity with the peoples from the non-self-governing territories has been shown over the years also through collaborative actions. A total of 2,098 students from the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic have graduated from Cuban institutions of the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Higher Education, another 78 are pursuing studies and 23 new scholarships were awarded for various courses in the new academic year.
We reaffirm the role of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, as the only UN forum with a mandate to comprehensively consider the issue of PKOs in all its aspects. The principles of impartiality, consent of the parties and non-use of force, except for the cases of self-defense, must continue to guide the work of the PKOs. We reiterate that the primary responsibility of protecting civilians in those countries where PKOs are carried out rests with the host government. We reject the manipulation of issues related to the protection of civilians and human rights in general, for the purposes of achieving political objectives and interfering in the internal affairs of States.
PKOs must include realistic and feasible mandates, specific objectives, clearly defined. They must also have the necessary resources available to carry out their work.
Special political missions are part of the United Nations response to the growing challenges to global peace and security.
In the recent past, Special Political Missions have been established by the Security Council. Cuba reaffirms the decisive role of the General Assembly in the adoption, implementation and monitoring of the special political missions, in such a manner that the considerations of each Member State are taken into account in a fully democratic exercise.
In connection with outer space, we reiterate our opposition to its militarization. The creation of the U.S. Armed Forces Space Command constitutes a serious threat to the security of all and to the future of humanity. There is an urgent need to strengthen the applicable legal framework with the adoption of a multilateral treaty for the prevention and prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space.
We advocate the legitimate right of all states to have access to outer space on equal footing and without any discriminatory whatsoever and to benefit from cooperation.
As recognized within the framework of the Committee on Information, the new Information and Communications Technologies must be made available to all countries without discrimination.
It is virtually impossible to advance in the development of the information and communications technologies when illegal unilateral coercive measures, such as the blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba for almost 60 years, are applied against countries. During the period from April 2018 to March 2019, the impact on the telecommunications sector is estimated at USD 55.5 million. We strongly reject the systematic radio and television aggression of the United States against Cuba, which contravenes the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and various provisions of the International Telecommunication Union. On average, in the current year 2020, 2136 weekly hours have been illegally broadcast from the territory of the United States to Cuba through 22 frequencies.
Cuba also rejects the decision to establish a "Cuba Internet Task Force", with the declared objective of promoting a "free and unregulated flow of information in Cuba ".
We commend the work of UNRWA and its staff who have been able to do a lot with fewer resources. We regret the precarious situation in which the Agency finds itself, as a result of the withdrawal of the financial support by United States.
The aggressive, unilateral and unwarranted actions of the United States in the Middle East severely undermine the legitimate interests of the Arab and Islamic nations and lead to a dangerous escalation in the region.
We reiterate our rejection of the so-called "Deal of the Century", which ignores the two-state solution, which has been historically supported by the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the League of Arab States, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and other international actors.
The unilateral action of the United States government to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to establish its diplomatic representation in that city, in disrespect for its historic status, as well as the decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Syrian Golan, constitute flagrant violations of the United Nations Charter, international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.
Cuba will continue to support a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of two-state solution, which would allow the Palestinians the right to self-determination, to have a free, independent and sovereign State, with its capital in East Jerusalem and with the pre-1967 borders; as well as the right to the return of the refugees.