Press Release: Cuba reaffirms that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only way to ensure that humanity will never suffer again its terrible impact.

New York,  17 October 2016. At the First Committee Thematic Debate on Nuclear Weapons, the Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Versón, reiterated that the existence of over 15,000 nuclear weapons, 4,000 of them ready to be deployed, cannot be justified and is unacceptable and urged to eliminate, once and for all, the role of nuclear weapons in military doctrines and security policies. He also recalled the successful holding of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and reaffirmed nuclear disarmament as the highest priority in terms of disarmament and the focus of attention for the United Nations.

Within this framework, he underscored the failure of the Ninth Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference;the limited Action Plan on Nuclear Disarmament approved in 2000, still not fulfilled, and the Disarmament Conference which remains paralyzed since 1996.

On the other hand, and given such unfortunate scenario, he mentioned important results achieved, such as the decision to recommend the General Assembly to start negotiating, in 2017, a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons, with a view to their total elimination and expressed the confidence that the Committee will take a historic step within the next days, adopting a resolution that authorizes the start of those negotiations and which will probably be the most relevant decision for present and future generations made by the First Committee this year.

The Cuban representative stated it is the view of Cuba that the Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons should be formally adopted in 2018, on the occasion of the High-Level International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, convened by the United Nations General Assembly.

At the end of his statement he noted: “The prohibition of nuclear weapons would be a significant, but insufficient step. Cuba will continue to strongly advocate the adoption, as soon as possible, of a comprehensive Convention that includes the elimination of nuclear weapons within a definite timeframe and under strict international control.” (Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations)