74 UNGA: Statement by the delegation of Cuba “Committee on Relations with the Host Country”. New York, 25 February 2020

Mr. President,

We appreciate this meeting of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country.

The current session of the Committee should promote and find effective solutions to the problems raised by Member States, as a result of the repeated noncompliance of the Host Country with the obligations stemming from the United Nations Headquarters Agreement. The legal mechanisms established to resolve disputes and restore violated rights should be used.

It is time for this Committee and this Organization to promote a legal solution to the Host Country's breaches, in open disrespect for the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, the Agreement regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations and the recommendations adopted over the years in the Committee's reports.

The Secretary-General has broad powers and clear mandates to activate Section 21 of the UN Headquarters Agreement, as granted by both resolution A/RES/74/195 and the Agreement itself.

The Secretary-General must use those powers to ensure that the principle of sovereign equality of Member States is strictly respected and that the participation of all Member States in the work of the United Nations is fully guaranteed on equal footing and without discrimination of any kind.

There is no legal basis for the restrictions and prohibitions imposed by the Host Country on the access to the United Nations and the participation of representatives of official delegations of Member States in the meetings of this Organization.

Mr. President,

At the last meeting, my delegation spoke of avoiding the difficulties faced by the First and Sixth Committees of the General Assembly in starting their work last October due to the non-issuance of visas or the delay in granting them.

It is unthinkable that we find ourselves here today discussing about the same issue. Both the Second Substantive Session of the Open-ended Working Group on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the context of International Security and the organizational session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission are very important to the work of the Organization, and their agendas address sensitive issues for humankind.

The United States of America cannot continue to use its status as a Host Country with impunity to selectively and arbitrarily implement the UN Headquarters Agreement in accordance with its political agenda and to prevent certain States from fully fulfilling their functions as members of this Organization. Our countries cannot continue to allow such disrespect.

The United States, with its arbitrary, selective and discriminatory policy, attacks multilateralism, deliberately disrupts the full and effective performance of the United Nations and fails to comply with the indispensable requirements and standards to host this multilateral forum; which must be at the service of all the peoples of the world, without limitations, threats, conditions or quarantines for its representatives.

For over 30 years, the United States has turned a deaf ear to the recommendations of this Committee. It affects the participation in meetings of representatives and experts from various countries, including Cuba, by the non-issuance or delay of visas. It unjustifiably expels diplomats, just as it happened in September 2019 with two Cuban diplomats, and imposes movement restrictions on several countries. In our case, we have been restricted to the island of Manhattan; a restriction that hampers the performance of their duties and affects their living conditions and those of their relatives. To these actions, the mistreatment given to the diplomatic couriers has been added.

These actions cannot continue to happening.

Mr. President,

It is necessary that account is rendered on the concrete results of the discussions held between the Secretariat and the Host Country on the issues that remain unresolved.

The reasonably short period in which the Secretary-General must seriously consider the possibility of taking action under the aforementioned Section 21, in accordance with the mandate granted by the General Assembly last December, cannot be extended in such a way that we arrive at the next session without tangible action being taken in this respect.

To conclude, we reiterate our position that the decisions and recommendations of this important Committee must be complied with transparency and respect for its Member States, without discrimination or selectivity.

Thank you very much.