Statement by the Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations at the High Level Segment of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

Madam Chair,

My delegation endorses the statement by El Salvador on behalf of CELAC and wishes to congratulate you on being elected Chair of this important United Nations Conference, as well as the other members of the Board. You can count on the commitment and cooperation of Cuba.

Madam Chair,

The international community took a major step towards nuclear disarmament by adopting General Assembly resolution 71/258, which decided, inter alia, to hold this United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.

Nuclear weapons pose a threat to humankind and its survival. Their use or threat of use, under any circumstances, would constitute, under the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, a violation of International Law and a crime against humanity. However, nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction that have not yet been banned through a legally binding instrument.

The status quo is inadmissible when, since 1946, in the first United Nations General Assembly resolution and in numerous subsequent resolutions, the elimination of nuclear weapons from national arsenals has been requested, and since 1978, in the first extraordinary session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, the priority of nuclear disarmament and the goal of total elimination of nuclear weapons was established.

Madam Chair,

The final goal of a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons should be the total elimination of such weapons. This is even more relevant in the current context, characterized by the refusal of nuclear-weapon states to comply with their commitments by virtue of Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the agreements reached at their 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences; by the 2015 NPT Review Conference’s failure; by attempts to legitimize the possession of nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence policy; and by the continued modernization and development of new types of nuclear weapons.

Cuba considers that the adoption of a convention on the prohibition is only an intermediate step and that these negotiations should lead to the adoption of a comprehensive Convention establishing the elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified period and under strict international verification. This would be the only way to ensure full, effective, irreversible, transparent and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

A legally binding prohibition instrument alone would not lead to nuclear disarmament, but would codify in international law the illegitimacy and illegality of nuclear weapons, it would help to establish rules and regulations to facilitate the elimination of nuclear weapons, and would strengthen the current disarmament and non-proliferation regime, including the NPT.

Such an instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons should be as clear and complete as possible and should lead to the elimination of these weapons. In that sense, it must include, among others, the following provisions:

• To categorically prohibit the possession, production, development, testing, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer, deployment, stationing, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

• To prohibit any activity related to military or other preparations for the use of nuclear weapons.

• To prohibit research, design and manufacture for the development and modernization of nuclear weapons.

• Prohibit nuclear tests, including subcritical tests or the use of sophisticated computerized methods

• To prohibit the encouragement or inducement of any nuclear-weapon-related activity, specifically including its funding.

• To prohibit the transit of nuclear weapons through the airspace and territorial waters of States Parties of the instrument, as well as the presence in their ports and aerodromes of foreign ships and aircraft, carrying nuclear weapons.

The instrument should also include specific provisions for the nuclear-weapon States that join it, which in addition to the previously mentioned, could be the following:

• To destroy within a defined period the nuclear stockpile owned or possessed or which is located in a place subject to its jurisdiction or control.

• To destroy nuclear weapons that have been abandoned in the territory of another State.

• To destroy or restructure for the destruction of nuclear weapons, the production and testing facilities of these weapons.

• To destroy or restructure nuclear weapons delivery systems to make them incapable of nuclear uses.

• To prohibit the production of fissile material for the manufacture of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, and eliminate stocks.

• To provide universal, unconditional and legally binding security assurances that they will not use nuclear weapons, as long as they possess them, against the States Parties to the instrument.

• To eliminate the role of nuclear weapons from their military and security doctrines.

• To withdraw all reservations and interpretative declarations to the Protocols to the Treaties establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones.

• To contribute to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

In our opinion, the instrument should have a set of rights and obligations for States Parties and of verification measures to ensure compliance with and implementation of its provisions.

Likewise, it should establish a mechanism to implement the provisions of the instrument, including those relating to verification and enforcement; as well as to provide a forum for consultation and cooperationamong its member States.

The future instrument should provide for and respect the inalienable right to research, develop and use nuclear energy forpeaceful purposes and establish provisions on international cooperation and assistance, including assistance to victims.

Cuba considers that none of the provisions of the instrument shall be construed as limiting or rendering ineffective the obligations undertaken by a State under the Charter of the United Nations; the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; the Treaty banning nuclear-weapon tests in the atmosphere, outer space and under water; the Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone Treaties; the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and on the Subsoil; the Agreement governing the activities of States on the Moon and other celestial bodies and theComprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Madam Chair,

Cuba calls on all Member States to join in the negotiations on this instrument. We support its conclusion, entry into force and implementation as soon as possible. We also call for a real commitment and politicalwillingness with the objective to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

We support the call made by non-governmental organizations to make 2017, the year of the ban on nuclear weapons.

Thank you very much