71 UNGA: Statement by Permanent Representative of Cuba to the UN at the General Debate of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba fully endorses the statements by Morocco, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and of the Republic of El Salvador, on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

We reaffirmour full support to the position expressed by the Non-Aligned Movement on the primary role of the General Assembly in formulating concepts, policies, doctrines, strategies and budget issues in relation to peacekeeping and, in this regard, we reiterate that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations is the only UN forummandated tocomprehensivelyreview the issue of Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs)  in all their aspects, including measures to enhance the capacity of the organization to carry out peacekeeping operations.

We welcome the report of the Secretary-General as requested by this Committee containing the status of all recommendations adopted in the past and we consider that this type of report should be submitted on an annual basis.

The systematic exchange on issues of common interest once again confirms the usefulness of sharing with the members of the United Nations, not only the experiences acquired, but also the ideas on how to improve the organization's responsibility in peacekeeping.

Mr. Chairman,

We would like to draw attention to the recent use of the concept of "peace operations" both by the experts who participated in the High Level Independent Panel Group and by some of our colleagues in this Committee and the Secretariat itself. The change of name from "peacekeeping operations" to "peace operations" is not a simple linguistic modification; it has substantive implications. Resolvinga conflict and ensuring that there is no war,does not mean that peace has been achieved at all. In this regard, we consider that a broad debate among all Member States is needed in order to analyze the changes that this new concept of "peace operations" would imply, its scope, which would be the decision taking organs and the delimitation of the mandate of such organs, among other things.

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba considers that the main responsibility for international peace and security  falls on the United Nations, and the PKO´s implementation must be in accordance with the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter, as well as in conformity with the basic principles that have been established for the development of such operations, which must be preserved, such as the consent of the parties, the non-use of force except in self-defense and impartiality. In like manner, respect for the principles of sovereign equality, political independence and of territorial integrity of all States should be emphasized, as well as the non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.

The establishment of new and more complex peacekeeping operations cannot be a substitute for attention and solution to the root causes of conflicts. We reiterate that these operations cannot be an end in themselves, but a temporary measure to create a security framework that allows us to apply a long-term strategy towards sustainable economic and social development. Otherwise, the vicious circle of new conflicts and new operations shall not be overcome, with the high human and material costs involved

Mr. Chairman,

We reiterate our concern regarding the use of new technologies in PKOs. Such technologies should be used on a case-by-case basis and should respect the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and full adherence to the principles of the PKOs, where the full consent of the host countryis essential.

To mention just one example, some peacekeeping missions are equipped with drones and invitations have been received from the Secretariat to train personnel in the handling of drones and the information they collect. All this, despite of the lack of defined principles and general legal and safety standards approved by Member States for the use of this technology inpeacekeeping operations.

We firmly believethat legal, operational, technical and financial aspects related to the use of modern technology must be defined;likewise,we consider that the use of such technology can complement, but not replace, the work of the troops on the ground.

We also reaffirm the importance of further enhancing cooperation among troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat. Troop-contributing countries should have a truly active participation in all stages of the peacekeeping decision-making process.

We share the view on the need to further develop effective safety and security arrangements for the participants in peacekeeping operations and we wish to note also our concern about the high number of casualties experienced in recent years.

We wish to conclude, Mr. Chairman, by reiterating Cuba's full willingness to contribute as much as possible to the success of the work of the Special Committee. Our delegation hopes that in this session the best practices regarding peacekeeping operations will be adopted, through a constructive debate and the consensus of all parties.

Thank you very much