Argentina risks Falklands fury with new plans to celebrate flag-raising on islands
Deputy Beatriz Luisa Avila has put forward plans for a new National Day to “commemorate the first raising of the Argentine flag” in the British Overseas Territory on November 6, 1820. This was before Britain first exercised de facto sovereignty over the archipelago in 1833.
Argentina has for decades claimed sovereignty over the British-run islands it calls the Malvinas and the dispute led to a brief war in 1982.
But the overwhelming majority of the islands’ 3,000 inhabitants say they want the islands to remain a British Overseas Territory.
Ms Avila says the new day will “reaffirm Argentine sovereign rights over the Malvinas, South Georgia and Sandwich Islands of the South and the surrounding maritime spaces.”
A Parliamentary Bill, which outlines the new day, said: “500 years after the discovery of the Malvinas Islands, it is a milestone between the historical and legal antecedents that sustain the sovereign rights of the Argentine republic.”
The Bill also proposes the need to carry out a mass dissemination campaign which would spread “the history of the sovereignty of our republic over the archipelago, free of charge, with the aim of carrying out solidarity actions, educational activities, cultural and patriotic activities throughout the national territory”.
It comes as Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández reiterated the country’s claim to the disputed islands.
In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly since taking office last year, the President stressed how important legally the claims of Argentine sovereignty are.
Mr Fernandez has held a firm stance on fishing spaces around the Falklands and other South Atlantic Islands since taking office in December after Britain allowed Port Stanley to grant their own fishing licences.
Because of this, the Argentine Congress unanimously approved three bills in relation to fisheries and the islands.
One of them involves the formation of a new council composed of government members, opposition, veterans and academia to push forward Argentine policies in relation to the Islands.
A second bill extends the country’s continental shelf from 200 to 350 miles, following the framework of the UN Law of the Sea.
The third is a fisheries bill which hikes fines for illegal fishing in Argentine waters.