Guyana committed to a world free of nuclear weapons
─ Min. Cummings tells UN
DPI Guyana, Thursday, September 26, 2019
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Dr. Karen Cummings has recommitted Guyana’s position to a world free of nuclear weapons. She said, Given the world’s fragile eco-system, changing climate and the risks to human health and well-being and socio-economic development, the plant cannot be used as a nuclear playground.
Minister Cummings was addressing a High-Level Plenary Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons today, at United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The meeting allows the Member States, observers and civil society to have a frank debate on an issue that poses an existential threat to the security of people and the planet, given the indiscriminate and unparalleled destruction that nuclear weapons can cause.
According to Dr. Cummings, Guyana has always taken a progressive approach to the elimination of nuclear weapons and is a State party to all of the major international legal instruments that together encompass the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.
“We have long advocated for a holistic approach to addressing matters of peace and security, fully recognising the intrinsic link between peace, security and development. There can be no development without peace and the existence and potential use of nuclear weapons are a threat to international peace and security and therefore to development,” she added.
To this end, Guyana recently hosted representatives of the CARICOM Member States including Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago at a regional meeting of experts to discuss the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) from a regional perspective and to assess its prospects for advancing nuclear disarmament, global security and humanitarian norms, while canvassing progress toward its entry into force. The meeting took place at a time of heightened risks for the deliberate or accidental detonation of nuclear weapons, the highest since the Cold War and a major cause for concern globally and the Caribbean region.
The Foreign Affairs Minister reiterated that Guyana will continue its active engagement in the negotiating process that resulted in the adoption in 2017 of the TPNW, which is the first legally binding international instrument for the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
“We possess no nuclear weapons nor do we claim to be protected from them by the nuclear weapons of an ally. This is consistent with our full compliance with the prohibitions contained in Article 1 of the TPNW, which aims to transform the regional norm of the Caribbean against the possession of nuclear weapons into a global norm. The approximately US$2 trillion in current expenditure on nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon States reduces funding for development and the achievement of the SDGs. As a small developing country, Guyana remains concerned about this diversion of economic resources to the maintenance of nuclear weapons and modernization of nuclear weapon stockpiles and their delivery systems. These resources could be better invested in the economic and social development of our peoples”
The minister contended that the Member States must have a principled and common approach to confronting the multiple security challenges currently faced by the international community.