74 UNGA: Statement by the delegation of the Republic of Cuba. Thematic debate on "Outer space". First Committee. New York, 29 October 2019

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Cuba advocates the legitimate right of all States to have access to outer space on equal conditions and without discrimination and to benefit from cooperation in terms of training and transfer of space applications and technology. 

The threat of an arms race in outer space, the continuous development and improvement of space weapons and the presence of war material in space undermine the realization of the aspirations of peoples, particularly the smallest countries, to benefit from the potential of space technologies for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Cuba rejects the argument that any country needs to have advanced weapons in space to protect its economy, lifestyles and increase its competitiveness.

We also reject the U.S. assertion that "space is a war-fighting domain" and the attempts to turn it into the next battlefield.

The creation of the U.S. Armed Forces Space Command and the militarization of outer space and cyberspace constitute a serious threat to the security of all and to the future of humanity.

The use of space technologies to the detriment of the security of nations is also disturbing, including the existing large network of spy satellites, which, besides being incompatible with peace and development, continues to saturate the geostationary orbit with large amounts of space debris.

Mr. Chairman,

We must prevent outer space from becoming a new theater of military operations on time.

There is an urgent need to strengthen the applicable legal regime by adopting a multilateral treaty on the prevention and prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space. In Cuba's view, that instrument should also prohibit the use or threat of use of force against satellites or other types of space objects.

As we have stated on previous occasions, the draft treaty presented by Russia and China in the Conference on Disarmament is a good basis for the necessary negotiations on a legally binding international instrument.

We regret that the United States blocked consensus in the adoption of the final report of the Group of Experts, established by the General Assembly, to present recommendations on the substantive elements of a legally binding instrument for the prevention and prohibition of an arms race in space. Its lack of political will and commitment to the multilateral treaties it has signed and the principles on the peaceful exploration and use of outer space are discouraging.

We must close the door to the military uses of space and its militarization, as well as to any possibility of armed conflict.

We recognize the practical value of voluntary transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space. In fact, Cuba supports and promotes the policy of no-first-deployment of weapons of any kind in outer space. These measures, however, do not replace a legally binding instrument.

Finally, we encourage the preservation of outer space as the common heritage of mankind and the implementation of political commitments in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted at the United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Thank you very much