71 UNGA: Cuba at the First Committee Thematic Debate on Nuclear Weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

We fully support the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The international community cannot remain silent in the face of the major threat posed by nuclear weapons for the survival of humankind. Intentional or not, the detonation of a small fraction of these weapons would have devastating consequences for our planet.

The existence of over 15,000 nuclear weapons, 4,000 of them ready to be deployed, cannot be justified and is unacceptable.

Programs aimed at the modernization of these weapons must be stopped immediately. The role of nuclear weapons in military doctrines and security policies must be eliminated once and for all.

The successful holding of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons last September 26 reaffirmed that nuclear disarmament is the highest priority in terms of disarmament and is at the focus of attention for the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

Some, however, are seeking to preserve the status quo, justifying the existence of nuclear weapons and intending to indefinitely postpone their prohibition and elimination by means of the so called step-by-step or progressive approach of nuclear disarmament, related to strategic global security and stability.

The Ninth Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference has failed, and it has ended up being another lost opportunity. Not even the limited Action Plan on Nuclear Disarmament approved in 2000 has been fulfilled. The Disarmament Conference remains paralyzed since 1996.

The Security Council increasingly involves itself in issues that are not within its competence. Suffice to mention the recent resolution 2310 on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, by virtue of which a dangerous and unnecessary duality has been generated, excluding the States Parties to and Signatories of decisions on matters inherent to the Treaty.

Given such unfortunate scenario, it is unsurprising that the majority advocates immediate concrete actions. There are grounds for optimism, since important results have been achieved.

Last August 19,theMember States made the decision to recommend the General Assembly to start negotiating, in 2017, a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons,with a view to their total elimination.

We trust that this Committee will take a historic step within the next days, adopting a resolution that authorizes the start of those negotiations. Probably, this will be the most relevant decision for present and future generations made by the First Committee this year.

The prohibition of nuclear weapons is fully justified because their use or threat of use would constitute, under any circumstances, a violation to International Law and a crime against humanity.

It is the view of Cuba that the Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons should be formally adopted in 2018, on the occasion of the High-Level International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, convened by the United Nations General Assembly.

The prohibition of nuclear weapons would be a significant, but insufficient step. Cuba will continue to strongly advocate the adoption, as soon as possible, of a comprehensive Convention that includes the elimination of nuclear weapons within a definite timeframe and under strict international control.

The only way to ensure that humanity will never suffer again the terrible impact of nuclear weapons is their total elimination.

Thank you very much.