75 UNGA: Statement by Ambassador Ana Silvia Rodríguez Abascal, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d´affaires a.i. of Cuba to the United Nations. General Debate. First Committee. New York, 12 October 2020.

Mr. Chairman,

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

We gather today, in an unprecedented international scenario, where the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge posed to all, generating a crisis of several and devastating effects not only for health but also on economy, trade and our societies in general, while nuclear stockpile is being modernized and enlarged, under the pretext of concepts or military doctrines of defense and security, which continue to threaten humanity.

Seventy-five years after the criminal bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, about 13,400 nuclear weapons still exist in the world, of which almost 1,800 are on operational readiness and 3,720 are deployed, more than the half of them belong to the United States.

The international community cannot remain impassive to the United States nuclear posture review, which lowers the threshold for the use of this type of weapons, even in response to the so-called “non-nuclear strategic threats”.

The United States, the only State that has used nuclear weapons twice, the world leader in nuclear tests and the country that invests the most in these weapons, is starting a new arms race, while withdrawing from and failing to comply with international agreements on disarmament and arms control.

We reject the decision of the United States government to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal and from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, unilateral actions with serious consequences for international stability and security.  We urged it to renew the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia.

Mr. Chairman,

The total elimination of nuclear weapons is and must continue to be the highest priority in the field of disarmament. Nuclear energy should be used only for peaceful purposes for the socioeconomic development of States, without discrimination. We will continue to oppose the imposition of unilateral coercive measures and sanctions, which limit their use for peaceful purposes. The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba is an example of this.

We reiterate that the only effective way to prevent the terrible impact of those weapons is their total elimination in a verifiable, transparent and irreversible manner and that, in the meantime, nuclear-weapon States must provide universal, legally binding, unconditional and non-discriminatory assurances that they will not use or threaten to use such weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States, under any circumstances.

In this regard, we hope that the outcome document of the NPT Review Conference will contain practical, concrete and tangible commitments, with established deadlines, in which the responsibility and the role of nuclear powers in the process towards nuclear disarmament is clearly stated, in order to meet the prolonged demand of non-nuclear States.

Its success will largely depend on fully respecting its mandate and addressing, in a balanced and non-discriminatory manner, the compliance with all the commitments, in accordance with the three pillars of the NPT: disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy. 

We reiterate the call to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Cuba is proud to be the fifth State to ratify this instrument, to be located in the first Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone created in a densely populated area and to be an active member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which promotes the commemoration of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

We firmly support the establishment of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones in different countries or regions of the world. In this regard, we reiterate the importance of the implementation of resolution on the Middle East, adopted in the 1995 NPT Review Conference, in order to promote and guarantee peace and stability at the regional and international level. Furthermore, we support decision 73/546 of the General Assembly and the Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Chairman,

Our country supports the prohibition and complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction. We reaffirm our commitment to the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of the conventions on Chemical Weapons and on Biological and Toxin Weapons. 

While attempts are made to modify the technical mandate of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, pending tasks remain. The destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles is not over. The United States is the only Nuclear weapon State Party that has failed to comply with its legal obligation.

We reiterate our rejection to selective, biased and politically motivated approaches in the implementation of the Convention and the creation of mechanisms and procedures beyond its scope.

We will continue supporting a legally binding Protocol that strengthens the Biological Weapons Convention. The fierce opposition of the United States in 2001 made it impossible to achieve this instrument.

The full, active and non-discriminatory implementation of Article X of the Biological Weapons Convention, referring to international cooperation for peaceful purposes, and Article XI of the Chemical Weapons Convention on economic and technological development, are still outstanding, urgent and priority tasks.

  The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States against Cuba for over 60 years is the main obstacle to international cooperation and scientific and technological development of the country in those fields.

Mr. Chairman,

We reiterate our commitment to the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA) and the Outcome Documents of its Review Conferences, in which it is recognized the right of States to acquire and possess weapons for their legitimate defense and security needs. It is urgent to put an end to illegal transfer of these weapons and to prevent their deviation to unauthorized non-State actors, the main source of illicit trafficking.

We reiterate that, in order to eradicate this scourge, socioeconomic root causes that generate it must be addressed and dealt with and international cooperation and assistance must be provided to States that request it, according to their needs.

Mr. Chairman,

We will continue to advocate the adoption, as soon as possible, of a Protocol banning lethal autonomous weapons, even before they are manufactured on a large scale. In addition, regulations are required for the use of weapons with certain autonomous capabilities, in particular military combat drones, which are causing a high number of civilian casualties.

We reiterate our support to the General Assembly Open-ended Working Group on Information and Communications Technologies, a historical process where Member States have had the opportunity to discuss this topic in a transparent and inclusive manner. We support the continuity of the work in this format until 2025.

We reiterate our rejection to the convert and illegal use of ICTs for the purpose of subverting the legal and political system of States.

Likewise, we condemn the militarization of cyberspace and outer space. Both spaces require the adoption of a legally binding instrument that addresses the existing legal loopholes.

We will continue demanding the respect for international law, the United Nations Charter and the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace; as well as the commitment to multilateralism in negotiations on disarmament, including the preservation and strengthening of its machinery.

Thank you.