Statement by the Cuban delegation to the IAEA Board of Governors. Urgent debate on the situation in Gaza.

Statement by the Cuban delegation to the IAEA Board of Governors. Urgent debate on the situation in Gaza.

Mr. Chairman

We wish to begin by underscoring the pertinence and relevance of this debate.

Israel remains the only country in the Middle East that has not acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), despite repeated calls by the international community to do so.

This has posed a serious obstacle to the establishment of a Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East.

The establishment of such a Zone would represent an important step towards nuclear disarmament and would contribute to the peace process in the region.

Unfortunately, we are a long way from achieving this goal. The serious events taking place in the Middle East are a sign of this.

We strongly condemn the indiscriminate bombardment of the population of Gaza and the destruction of homes, hospitals and civilian infrastructure.

We reiterate our deep concern over the current escalation of violence, a consequence of decades of Israeli practices of illegal occupation and colonization, in flagrant violation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in their own territory; as well as the prolonged disrespect for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and International Law, including numerous relevant UN resolutions.

Cuba rejects, and has always rejected, the death of civilians and innocent people of all parties involved in this conflict, regardless of ethnicity, origin, nationality or religious faith.

We condemn, in the strongest terms, the killing of civilians, especially women, children and humanitarian workers of the United Nations system; the indiscriminate bombing of the population in Gaza and the destruction of homes, hospitals and civilian infrastructure; as well as the deprivation of water, food, electricity and fuel services to said population, which considerably worsen the precarious humanitarian situation resulting from the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Nothing can justify such actions, which constitute collective punishment, serious violations of International Humanitarian Law and war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We demand an immediate ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. The warmongering rhetoric must stop.

Statements about the possible use of nuclear weapons in this conflict, are troubling and should be examined by this body.

Mr. Chairman:

We advocate the search for an early solution through negotiation that will halt this escalation of violence and its grave humanitarian consequences.

We emphasize the urgent need for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the creation of two States, which would allow the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to have an independent and sovereign State within the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and which would also guarantee the right of return of refugees.

We reiterate our strong rejection of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, along with Israel's illegal annexation policy and all its colonizing practices.

We call on all countries to cease selectivity and political manipulation, which undermine the cause of international peace and security.

Transforming the Middle East into a zone of peace and security for all requires genuine political will, the rejection of the complicit attitude shown by several states towards Israel's violations of international law and a real commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Thank you very much.

(EmbaCubaAustria)

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