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Issue #1677      March 18, 2015

For international peace and security

Statement by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba at the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, March 3

Mr President:

Seventy years ago, the United Nations Organisation proclaimed the purpose of maintaining international peace and security and promoting friendly relations among nations based on the respect for the principles of equal sovereignty and self-determination of peoples.

Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba.

However, in 2013 the world military expenditures increased to the astronomical figure of US$1.75 trillion dollars, while the survival of humankind is continuously jeopardised by the existence of more than 16,000 nuclear weapons.

The millions that are being spent on weapons should be destined to promote peace, economic and social development and a decent life for all human beings.

The issues related to disarmament, which are the subject matter of this important Conference, are of an utmost importance and demand greater attention.

The “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” was first commemorated on September 26 last.

Cuba welcomes the broad international support given to that initiative and reiterates the words pronounced by Fidel Castro Ruz, the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, when he said, and I quote: “In a nuclear war, the collateral damage would be the life of humankind … Each and every government in the world has the obligation to respect the right to life of each and every nation … Peoples have an obligation to demand of their political leaders their right to live … nobody can afford to be indifferent; not one minute can be lost in demanding respect for that right; tomorrow will be too late … It is high time for the world … to choose the path towards peace”, end of quote.

Nuclear disarmament cannot be a goal whose achievement is continuously postponed. We denounce the role that nuclear weapons play in the security doctrines, policies and strategies as well as the threat to use them. We likewise demand respect for the inalienable right of States to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

During the First Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to disarmament in 1978, member States entrusted this forum with the mandate of negotiating multilateral treaties in the field of disarmament. This Conference has not fulfilled that mandate with regard to nuclear disarmament. Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which very clearly establishes the obligation to negotiate nuclear disarmament in good faith has not been complied with.

Concrete actions are required to achieve the nuclear-free world we all hope for. The Non-Aligned Countries Movement submitted a proposal that was adopted by the UN General Assembly, calling for the beginning of urgent negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament aimed at the prompt adoption of a comprehensive Convention about nuclear weapons, which would ban the possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, threat or use of nuclear weapons and stipulate their destruction.

The Conference on Disarmament should urgently adopt a comprehensive and balanced working program that takes into account the real priorities related to disarmament. It is important for this forum not to give in to the lack of political will of a few countries.

If this Conference on Disarmament were to fulfil its mandate, it could decisively contribute to break the status quo and get rid of the paralysis of the disarmament machinery that only benefits the powerful.

The Conference on Disarmament is prepared to negotiate several issues at the same time, including a treaty that eliminates and prohibits nuclear weapons; another that prohibits the arms race in outer space; another that offers effective security guarantees to those States like Cuba which do not have nuclear weapons; as well as a treaty that prohibits the production of fissile material required for the manufacturing of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, which would also comprise nuclear stocks.

All the Conference members should take on the commitment to contribute to the success of the United Nations High Level International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament to be held in 2018 at the latest.

Mr President:

The official proclamation of the Latin American and Caribbean Region as a Zone of Peace at the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana in January of 2014 marked a historical milestone. This proclamation emphasised the firm commitment of all CELAC member countries to the promotion of nuclear disarmament as a priority goal.

This Conference on Disarmament has the important responsibility of measuring up to the legitimate expectations of the international community and making a decisive contribution to international peace and security and the survival of the human species that is currently threatened by the existence of huge nuclear arsenals and climate change.

A new world order based on peace, human solidarity and social justice is indispensable.

Thank you, very much.

Next article – Venezuela – US sanctions condemned

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