Statement by H.E. Sra. María Emma Mejia at the Third Preparatory Committee to the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
New York, April 29, 2014
Allow me to congratulate you on your election as President of the Third Preparatory Committee. I and ensure you the full cooperation of the Colombian delegation in the efforts to promote the work of this Conference.
In 1986, Ixtapa (Mexico), the recently deceased Colombian Nobel of literature Gabriel García Márquez addressed the Meeting on Disarmament held in this city on the occasion of the commemoration of the 41 anniversary of the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.
I would like to share with you an extract from his speech, published under the title: " The cataclysm of Damocles " because it reflects with extraordinary harshness, the fundamental risk posed by the very existence of nuclear weapons:
One minute after the last explosion, more than half of the humans would be dead. Dust and smoke from the continents in flames will defeat sunlight, and absolute darkness will reign on the world one more time. A winter with orange rains and gelid hurricanes will turn back ocean timings and currents in the rivers, fishes inside them would have died in thirst while wading the boiling waters. Birds shall not find any sky. Never melting snow will cover Sahara desert and the wide Amazonia will be erased from earth due to devastating hails. This age of rock & roll and transplanted hearts shall be taken back to their glacial childhood. Those few human beings who would survive the first horror, and those who had the privilege of safe refuge at three o'clock in the afternoon of that fateful Monday when the big catastrophe took place, would have saved their lives only to die later due to the horrifying memories. In the middle of eternal humidity and everlasting nights, cockroaches will be the only remain of the lives, which were once on earth.
Unfortunately today, 28 years after his shocking speech, 35 years after the work of the Conference on Disarmament started, over 40 years that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has entered into force and having passed the context of the Cold War, the words of the Colombian Nobel continue to have the same effect at the time they were pronounced.
Colombia is a country committed to general and complete disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. In this sense, as a non-nuclear-weapon State, it is a fundamental principle of our foreign policy to ensure compliance with international standards for the destruction of nuclear arsenals, nonproliferation and the strictly peaceful use of nuclear capacities.
For my country is of significant importance the NPT Review Conference, to be held in 2015. Allow me, Mr. President, to reaffirm our commitment to the purposes of this Treaty and to reaffirm that we will continue working for its effective implementation, as we have done it in the two previous Preparatory Conference, and we will do in the Third session Sessions that brings us together today.
Considering not only the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons, but also its existence, my country calls upon the parties to comply with their commitments under Article VI of the NPT and move towards the total elimination of these weapons.
This purpose was emphasized in the context of the last " High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament", which took place in New York on September 26, 2013, in which the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, among other things, reaffirmed the importance of nuclear, complete and verifiable disarmament as the highest priority and reiterated that the only guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is their total elimination. Additionally, the group identified a legitimate interest of non -nuclear weapons states, including all members of the CELAC that states possessing nuclear weapons provide unequivocal and legally binding warranties to do not use or threaten to use these weapons.
Thus, given the threat to humanity posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and their possible use or threat of use, as it was reiterated in the two versions of the International Conference on the humanitarian impact of Nuclear Weapons, the latest one held on 13 and 14 February 2014 in Nayarit (Mexico).
We are proud to be state party to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), under which the Latin American continent and Caribbean became the first nuclear- weapons-free zone in a densely populated region. This regional palpable commitment has contributed to peace and security, both hemispheric and in a global scale manner. Following this example, Colombia will continue to strongly support the establishment of new nuclear-weapon-free zones in other regions of the planet.
Specifically, let me point out that Colombia supports the convening of a conference as soon as possible to address the issue of the establishment of a Nuclear-Weapons-free zone of and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East in accordance with the decision taken at the NPT Review Conference, held in 2010.
Although nuclear weapons have only been used twice, there have been more than a thousand nuclear tests, contributing to the improvement of these weapons, i.e. vertical proliferation. Even though we welcome that 183 States have signed and 162 have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear- Test, including 44 States from Annex II, we consider that the entry into force of the Treaty is the best way to avoid proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As a State Party listed in Annex 2, we are honored to introduce ourselves as a country committed to its early entry into force.
Finally, I highlight the support of Colombia to multilateral efforts to rid the world of the nuclear threat, represented by the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the possible use of nuclear energy for terrorist purposes and the existence of nuclear weapons.
Therefore, my country works to promote the effective implementation of international instruments on nuclear disarmament in order to achieve total and complete elimination of the threat posed to mankind the possession and use of these weapons of mass destruction, that today is a sad fact that, as Gabriel Garcia Marquez lamented: the arms race runs against intelligence. And not just against human intelligence, but also from the intelligence of nature, whose purpose manages to escape the wise clairvoyance of poetry itself. Since the appearance of visible life on Earth 380 million years had to elapse in order for a butterfly to learn how to fly, 180 million years to create a rose with no other commitment than for the sake of being beautiful, and four geological eras in order for us human beings, unlike our Pithecanthropus great-grandfather, were able to sing better than birds and be able to fall in love. It is not honorable for the human talent, in the golden age of science, to have conceived how that process as an ancient colossal wasteful, can return to the nothingness from which came the simple art of pushing a button. To try to prevent that happening are here, adding our voices to the many calling for a world without weapons and peace with justice
Our duty as diplomats is to make every effort to prevent the apocalyptic ending that García Márquez described in the above-mentioned intervention.
You can count on my delegation strong support to achieve the goal to save the planet from "cataclysm of Damocles" that represents the potential annihilation of nuclear weapons whose danger never stops increasing.