The delegation of Cuba is proud to see you presiding over the First Committee on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States. In congratulating you and the members of the Bureau, I ratify our decision to work in a constructive manner for the success of the works.
We support the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
We are assembled here together amidst an international juncture marked by serious and growing threats to international peace and security and by a progressive erosion of multilateralism, the architecture of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the multilateral disarmament forums.
The development of new nuclear weapons systems and the modernization of the existing forces and arsenals; the strengthening of the role of those weapons in the defense and security military doctrines of certain nuclear weapon States; the increase in military expenditures; the proliferation of sophisticated conventional weapons and non-conventional wars; threats of military intervention and attempts to re-impose the unipolar order, based on the ignorance of international treaties and the multiplication of unilateral sanctions, undermine international order and threaten the peace and stability of all peoples.
The achievement of nuclear disarmament is top priority in the area of disarmament. The mere existence of nuclear weapons threatens the survival of the human species. It is regrettable that 74 years after the criminal bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there are approximately 13,865 of those weapons, out of which 3,750 are deployed and 2,000 have been put on standby.
Deep concern is raised by the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, which reduces the threshold for the consideration of the use of nuclear weapons, even in response to the so-called "non-nuclear strategic threats" and allows for the resumption of nuclear explosive tests "for the safety and effectiveness of its country's nuclear arsenal.
The U.S., the only State to have used nuclear weapons twice, the world leader in carrying out nuclear tests and the country that invests the most in such weapons, is beginning a new arms race while withdraws from and fails to comply with the international agreements on disarmament and arms control, such as the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran.
Cuba strongly rejects these stances, which are contrary to the legal obligations assumed under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the nuclear disarmament commitments undertaken.
Cuba also rejects with the same strength, the security policies and military doctrines based on nuclear deterrence. We make our own the words of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, when in 1979 he stated: "Enough of the illusion that the problems of the world can be solved by nuclear weapons. Bombs may kill the hungry, the sick, the ignorant, but they cannot kill hunger, disease, ignorance.
The only effective way to avoid the terrible impact of nuclear weapons is their total elimination in a verifiable, transparent and irreversible manner. We hope that nuclear weapon States will show political will and allow the 2020 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to achieve substantive recommendations to move towards nuclear disarmament.
We support the holding of the Conference for the Establishment of a Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East, next November. We hope that results will be achieved at the NPT Review Conference in April 2020.
Cuba, the fifth State to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, will persist in its prompt entry into force and implementation.
Our country endorses the prohibition and total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, as the only effective assurance to prevent their use by any actor and under any circumstances.
We reaffirm our commitment to the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of the Chemical, Biological and Toxin Weapons Conventions.
Attempts to create mechanisms outside the scope of the Chemical Weapons Convention and to modify the technical mandate of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are unacceptable. The destruction of the declared chemical weapons stockpiles has not been completed. The United States is the only possessor State Party that has not fulfilled its legal obligation.
We will continue to support a legally binding Protocol that strengthens the Biological Weapons Convention. The fierce opposition of the United States in 2001 made it impossible to reach an instrument that would forever prohibit the use of biological weapons.
We reject the imposition of unilateral coercive measures and sanctions aimed at prohibiting or limiting the legitimate right of States to access and use nuclear energy, biological agents and chemical substances, for peaceful purposes. The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. government against Cuba for more than 60 years is the main obstacle to international cooperation and the country's economic and technological development in those spheres.
The scourge of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons affects most of the regions in the world. According to US media, in the largest producer and exporter country of firearms, there have been 300 shootings so far this year which have caused more than 8000 deaths without any action being taken.
Cuba reiterates its commitment to the implementation of the United Nations Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and the Final Documents of its Review Conferences, which recognize the right of States to acquire and possess weapons for their legitimate defense and security needs. There is an urgent need to put an end to the illegal transfer of these weapons and to prevent their diversion to unauthorized non-State actors, the main source of illicit trafficking.
The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons is the appropriate forum for the negotiation of a legally binding instrument which prohibits autonomous lethal weapons and regulates semi-autonomous weapons, including military attack drones.
We welcome the successful start of the works of the General Assembly's Open-ended Working Group on Information and Communication Technologies. We reiterate the rejection of the covert and illegal use of ICTs, with the purpose of subverting the legal and political order of States. We also repudiate the militarization of cyberspace and outer space.
We will continue to demand respect for International Law, the Charter of the United Nations and the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, as well as adherence to multilateralism in disarmament negotiations, including the preservation and strengthening of its mechanisms.