Worldwide nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations and one of the aspirations and basic principles of the foreign policy of the Republic of Cuba, which has maintained a consistent position on the prohibition and elimination of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. General disarmament, full and immediate, under a strict and effective control, is a priority in the international arena.
Nuclear disarmament was one of the goals of the first resolution of the U.N General Assembly in 1946. After the full and general disarmament became a part of the agenda of the General Assembly in 1959, it has remained the most important and urgent goal of the United Nations in this field. Since 1975, it has been one of the most prominent issues in the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference of the States. In 1978, in the First Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, it was reaffirmed that effective measures for nuclear disarmament should have the highest priority.
However; there are still 15,000 nuclear weapons. The countries in possession of these weapons have long-term, properly financed plans to upgrade their nuclear arsenals. In 2017, no nuclear warhead has been physically destroyed under a treaty, either bilateral or multilateral, and there are no ongoing negotiations on nuclear disarmament either.
These facts, among others, are the basic reasoning for the designation by the UN General Assembly of September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This day is a special occasion for the international community to reaffirm their commitment to nuclear disarmament as a top priority. It is also an opportunity to inform the people, and their leaders, on the benefits of the elimination of these weapons and the social, economic and human benefits of making this practice perpetual.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted on July 7th, 2017 in the United Nations, is one of the major steps and contributions to this common goal towards a world free of nuclear weapons. The Treaty reflects the rising concern for the risks posed by the continuous existence of nuclear weapons, as well as the awareness of the catastrophic consequences if nuclear weapons were to be used again. It is the result of a worldwide campaign focused on the unacceptability of the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances and the hope that the adoption of the Treaty will give a new momentum to nuclear disarmament.
Over 120 countries have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The text was officially adopted with 122 votes in favor, one against and one abstention. In the framework of the recently concluded high-level debate of the U.N. General Assembly, 41 countries ratified this Treaty, the Republic of Cuba was one of them. The treaty will come into force when it is ratified by 50 States.
The commemoration of this day has also another special meaning for Cuba. On September 26, 1960 the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Commander Fidel Castro Ruz, gave his first speech to the United Nations in which he introduced the guidelines of the Cuban Revolution to the world and in which he said: ….“ let us struggle for peace, let us struggle for disarmament; with a fifth of what the world spends on armaments, we could promote the development of all the underdeveloped countries” and added:… “Wars, since the beginning of mankind, have occurred for one, fundamental reason; the desire of some to despoil others of their wealth. Do away with the philosophy of plunder and you will have done away forever with the philosophy of war!”
The Hague, September 26th 2017