Falkland Islands threat: Argentina wants to claim UK territory in ‘not so distant future’
Argentina’s Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie announced the country must “create conditions of dialogue” to quickly obtain the sovereignty of the British archipelago situated in the South Atlantic. Speaking about the efforts carried out by Argentina’s President, Mauricio Macri, to overcome the tensions with Britain over the Falklands since his election in 2015, Mr Faurie said: “I think that in this three years and a half of President Macri’s government we have carried out a policy of re-creating confidence and creating conditions for a dialogue to adequately frame all the effort to claim sovereignty. Argentina, in these three and a half years, has not given up on claiming the territorial integration of Malvinas to the rest of the Argentine nation.”
The territory, which includes two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, on top of 776 smaller islands, has caused friction between the UK and Argentina since the early 1800s.
The dispute over the islands led to Argentine forces occupying the main islands in 1982 and the outbreak of the Falklands war.
The occupation was quashed by the then-Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine navy and air force before making an amphibious assault on the islands.
The conflict lasted 74 days, costing the lives of 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders.
Argentina surrendered on June 14 and returned the archipelago was returned to British control.
Outlining Argentina’s plan to seize the Falklands, Mr Faurie said the South American country needed to eliminate the “distrust that arose from the war”, so that “people from the Malvinas feel that mainland Argentina is their home”.
People living in the Falkland Islands have previously expressed their desire to remain part of the United Kingdom.
In 2013, residents overwhelmingly voted in a two-day referendum to remain a UK overseas territory.
Out of the 1,517 votes cast, on a turnout of more than 90 percent, as many as 1,513 voted to retain the Falkland Islands’ status of British-held territory.
Nigel Haywood, governor of the Falkland Islands, said: “Obviously it is a major principle of the United Nations that a people have their right to self-determination, and you don’t get a much clearer expression of the people’s self-determination than such a large turnout and such a large ‘yes’ vote.”
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)