71 UNGA: Cuba at the beginning of the Second Session of the UN Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons leading towards their total elimination.

Madam Chair,

First and foremost, I would like to express the satisfaction of the Cuban delegation to see that a representative of a Latin American sister nation is presiding over this important Conference. I wish you success in undertaking your important responsibilities and I assure you that you can count on the support of our delegation.

I also take this opportunity to welcome the new High Representative of the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu.

We appreciate the submission of the draft Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In the opinion of the Cuban delegation, the project has many merits, it is a good basis for the negotiations that we are starting today and brings us closer to the goal of approving the Convention next July 7.

We consider that the text shows to a large extent the exchanges of views that took place last March and we welcome the fact that many of the stances and proposals submitted by Cuba are duly reflected in the draft Convention.

However, intensive work is still required to strengthen and improve the draft Convention in several relevant aspects. The Cuban delegation will submit specific proposals for amendments in the course of the negotiations that will take place in the coming days.

Madam Chair,

Never before has the international community been so close to achieving a permanent ban on nuclear weapons. The prohibition of these weapons will be a transcendental step forward towards their total elimination from the face of the earth.

The present and future generations have the legitimate right to live in a world without the permanent threat of nuclear weapons. We make a respectful call to all participating delegations to work constructively and to live up to the historic opportunity we now have to proclaim the ban on nuclear weapons in 2017.

Thank you very much.