The contribution of Latin America and the Caribbean to Nuclear Disarmament , by Secretary General of OPANAL, Ambassador Gioconda Ubeda

Posted by at 7 March, at 19 : 31 PM Print

Distinguished Members of The Spiceislander

I am pleased to communicate with you and your distinguished media to share the article: “The contribution of Latin America and the Caribbean to Nuclear Disarmament”, written by Ambassador Gioconda Ubeda, Secretary General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL www.opanal.org), headquartered in Mexico with the intention to publish it in your news organization.

Currently, the 33 Member Countries of OPANAL -an intergovernmental institution responsible for ensuring the Treaty of Tlatelolco-have in matters of disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation various challenges and tasks that maintain in a constant activism through the Agency, including the consolidation of Latin America and the Caribbean Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (NWFZ) as a means towards a world free of these weapons, an issue that is addressed in the analysis of Ambassador Ubeda and was reinforced during the Commemoration of the 45th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco and the International Seminar: “The Experience of the NWFZ in Latin America and the Caribbean and the perspective towards 2015 and beyond”, held on 14 and 15 February in Mexico City, events that were attended by highleaders of the Member States like the Foreign Ministers of Costa Rica and Uruguay, the deputy foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Mexico, as well as senior representatives of International Organizations as Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), among other high authorities of various Member States of the 5 existing NWFZ, academics in the field and international NGOs also enriched the discussions.

Because of the importance and urgency that the challenges of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation now account for our region and the entire planet, the Secretariat General of OPANAL would appreciate a publication of the article in your media to facilitate the important task of disseminating this important topic in civil society.

I take this opportunity to send you the assurances of my highest consideration.

Sincerly

Jorge A. López

 

 

The contribution of Latin America and the Caribbean to Nuclear Disarmament

Ambassador Gioconda Ubeda*

On the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, also known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco, States Parties held an International Seminar entitled “The experience of the NWFZ in Latin America and the Caribbean and the perspective towards 2015 and beyond”; in the presence of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica and Uruguay, the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Mexico; as well as other senior officials from Member States. The event was held in Mexico City and also brought together leaders of International Organizations (IAEA, UN, and CTBTO), International NGOs and 30 States’ representatives from around the World, including representatives from our region and other NWFZs; Kazakhstan, Indonesia and New Zealand among them. Representatives from the Netherlands, South Korea, Russia and the United States also took part. The latter two Nuclear-Weapon States are Signatories to the Additional Protocols to the Treaty of Tlatelolco; in which they commit themselves, together with France, the United Kingdom and China, to respect the denuclearized status of the NWFZ in Latin America and the Caribbean. The collective purpose of the seminar was to share opinions and discuss the process of nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation regime. It was also a time for reflection, a time to focus on how to contribute to the establishment of new Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZs), particularly in the Middle East.

During the Seminar and the Commemorative Event that preceded it, Latin American and Caribbean States reaffirmed their conviction that the Treaty of Tlatelolco remains in force, until general and complete nuclear disarmament has been achieved. They also expressed their commitment to continue the consolidation of the NWFZ and strengthening OPANAL political agenda; agency that oversees our Region and, at the same time, promotes cooperation and coordination with the other four NWFZs. It is indeed a very challenging task considering the fact that all five NWFZs combine 115 States in total, 60% of UN Member States. The Treaty of Tlatelolco served as a source of inspiration for the establishment of these zones; today, they all serve as a source of inspiration for the establishment of a NWFZ in the Middle East.

The spirit that prevailed during the two-day sessions, 14-15 February, was the renewal of the political will that Latin American and Caribbean States expressed in the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which created, in 1967, the first NWFZ in an inhabited area. It became a significant event; bearing in mind that half a century ago in the Caribbean the two superpowers of the era were on the brink of a nuclear war. In contrast, Latin American States’ response to the crisis and the growing nuclear arms race was to start the negotiations, in 1963, to sign a multilateral treaty intended to ensure that such a situation would not happen again.

We commemorated the legacy of the Treaty of Tlatelolco; a legacy in favour of regional and global peace and security, which not only had the approach of the geopolitical context of the Cold War, but also went far beyond it to state in the Treaty preamble that NWFZs are a means to achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. 2012 and subsequent years will be very challenging for OPANAL and its 33 Member States. The major items on the agenda are outlined: to continue consolidating the NWFZ, to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to encourage concrete and effective measures towards the total and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. All three items are based on the certainty that as long as these weapons exist anywhere in the world, the threat of global nuclear war will remain.

*Secretary General of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL)

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