71 UNGA: Statement by the Representative of Cuba, Ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Versón on the adoption of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.

Madam President:

The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons represents a historic milestone. More than a result of the Conference that we are successfully concluding today, this instrument is the result of a process of multilateral discussions over 70 years, which began with the adoption by the UN General Assembly of its first resolution, on January 24, 1946, which called for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The new Treaty is a well-deserved tribute to all victims of the use or testing of nuclear weapons. Moreover, it is a fundamental step forward in the urgent path towards nuclear disarmament.

The Cuban delegation supports the Treaty because it fulfills the two main objectives we have set for ourselves: (1) It establishes a new rule of international law for the categorical prohibition of nuclear weapons in all circumstances; (2) Provides a solid and legally binding framework for destruction and total elimination of nuclear weapons in a transparent, irreversible and verifiable manner, within specific time frames.

With this Treaty, the international community makes it clear that nuclear weapons are not only inhuman, immoral and ethically indefensible; from now on, will also be illegal.

Madam President:

The Cuban delegation orally registered on Wednesday several interpretative declarations, which I will not reiterate. I will limit myself to emphasizing some specific considerations on the letter of the instrument approved today.

We are satisfied that, in addition to prohibiting the development, production, manufacture, transfer, possession and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, the Treaty explicitly prohibits the threat of its use, thereby also prohibiting security doctrines based on so-called " nuclear deterrence".

We also welcome the fact that the new instrument goes beyond the limited scope of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, which only prohibits nuclear-weapon test. All kind of nuclear weapon tests of all kinds are now forbidden.

We consider it important to note the understanding of the Conference that the transit of nuclear weapons, as well as financing, are also prohibited activities under the provisions of Article 1 (e).

With regard to Article 4, we note that the nuclear-weapon States are offered options to become parties to the Treaty. We hope that the flexible, inclusive and non-discriminatory approach of the instrument will facilitate its universalization.

Madam President:

The threat of nuclear weapons is not an exclusive issue of the Nuclear Weapon States. It concerns the international community as a whole, since no country would be immune to the folly of a nuclear attack. The use of a tiny part of the existing 15 000 nuclear weapons would have catastrophic consequences for our planet.

As set out in the Treaty, the only effective way to ensure that mankind will never again suffer the terrible impact of such weapons is its prohibition and total elimination. That is why nuclear disarmament is and should continue to be the highest priority in the field of disarmament.

At the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held in Havana in January 2014, the Latin American and Caribbean region was formally proclaimed as a Zone of Peace. The Proclamation emphasizes the firm commitment of the CELAC countries to the promotion of nuclear disarmament as a priority objective. The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a key contribution to that goal.

As our Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro told the United Nations General Assembly on October 12, 1979, and I quote: "It is enough of the illusion that the world's problems can be solved with nuclear weapons. Nuclear bombs can kill the hungry, the sick, the ignorant, but they cannot kill hunger, disease, ignorance."

May I conclude, Madam President, by reiterating the recognition of the Cuban delegation to you and your team, as well as to the Secretariat and the Facilitators, for the work done. We would also like to acknowledge the valuable input of civil society and non-governmental organizations in these negotiations.

Cuba will remain firm in its commitment to ensure a better world for future generations, free forever of nuclear weapons.

Thank you very much