Cuba will always defend peace

Address by ambassador Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Cuba’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in the United Nations General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine. New York, 1 March 2022

Mr. President, 

Last 26 February, the Cuban Government issued a Statement on the events in Ukraine, clearly adopting a stance in favor of a solution that guarantees the security and sovereignty of all and addresses legitimate humanitarian concerns.

Cuba champions International Law and is committed to the Charter of the United Nations. Cuba will always defend peace and unambiguously oppose the use or threat of use of force against any State. 

That is why we firmly support the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in 2014 in Havana by the Heads of State and Government of our region. 

Cuba is also committed to International Humanitarian Law and calls on all parties to protect the civilian population, their possessions and infrastructure. 

We deeply regret the loss of innocent civilian lives in Ukraine.  The Cuban people have had and continue to have a very close relationship with the Ukrainian people.

Mister President,

It is impossible to make a rigorous and honest examination of the current situation in Ukraine, without carefully assessing the factors that have led to the use of force and non-observance of legal principles and international norms.

Cuba strongly endorses and supports those principles and norms, which are, particularly for small countries, an essential reference to fight hegemony, abuse of power and injustice.

The U.S. determination to continue NATO’s progressive expansion towards the Russian Federation borders has brought about a scenario with implications of unpredictable scope, which could have been avoided.

The United States’ and NATO’s military moves in recent months towards regions adjacent to the Russian Federation, preceded by the delivery of modern weapons to Ukraine, which altogether add up to a military siege, are well known.

Ignoring for decades the well-founded claims of the Russian Federation for security guarantees and assuming that Russia would remain defenseless in the face of a direct threat to its national security was a mistake. Peace cannot be achieved by sieging or cornering States.

History will hold the United States accountable for the consequences of an increasingly offensive military doctrine outside NATO’s borders, which threatens international peace, security and stability.

Our concerns grow bigger after NATO’s recent decision to activate, for the first time, NATO Response Force.

Cuba rejects hypocrisy and double standards. It should be recalled that in 1999 the United States and NATO launched a major aggression against Yugoslavia, a European country that was fragmented with a high cost in human lives in pursuit of geopolitical objectives, disregarding the UN Charter.

The United States and some allies have used force on many occasions. They have invaded sovereign states to bring about regime changes and interfere in the internal affairs of other nations that do not submit to their interests of domination and defend their territorial integrity and independence. 

They are also responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians, which they call “collateral damage”, the displacement of millions of persons and the massive destruction of the geography of our planet because of their plundering wars.

Mister President,

The draft resolution on the situation of Ukraine not adopted in the Security Council on 25 February was not intended as a genuine contribution to resolve the current crisis.  

The text that is now being considered by this General Assembly suffers from the same shortcomings and lacks the necessary balance. 

It does not take into account the legitimate concerns of all the parties involved. It does not acknowledge either the responsibility of those who instigated or deployed aggressive actions that hasten the escalation of this conflict.

Mr. President,

We welcome the start of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Dialogue and negotiations, not war, are the only means of solving the conflict. 

Cuba will continue advocating a serious, constructive and realistic diplomatic solution to the current crisis in Europe by peaceful means, ensuring the security and sovereignty of all, and regional and international peace, stability and security.

Many thanks.

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