Falkland Islands warning: Argentina demands UN reopen sovereignty talks
More than 37 years after the end of the Falkland War, Buenos Aires is preparing to demand the resumption of sovereignty discussions with the UK on the Falklands’ future. The request over the Falklands, which are known as Las Malvinas in Argentina, will be put to the UN Special Committee on Decolonization on Tuesday. The Committee meets every year in June to reviews the list of territories to which the Declaration on the Granting of Independence is applicable.
Representatives of the Government who have announced they are heading to New York are the country’s Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, the Secretary for Matters Relating to the Malvinas Daniel Fernando Filmus and the Secretary of the Malvians Issue within the Tierra del Fuego province Jorge Arguello.
Senators Julio Cobos, the former Vice President of Argentina who has visited privately the islands, Federico Pinedo, a long-line descendent of the settlers in the 1820s, and chair the Foreign Affairs Committee Cornelia Scmidt Lierman, will also be part of the delegation.
In their appeal, the Argentine delegation will propose to reopen talks with the UK over the islands by using as an example the ruling from the International Court of Justice regarding the Chagos archipelago.
This small territory has been claimed by both the Mauritius and the UK for decades, after in 1965 Britain split the archipelago from the Mauritian area to form the British Indian Ocean Territory.
But in May this year the UN General Assembly voted in favour of setting a six-month deadline for London to withdraw from Chagos and reunite the archipelago with Mauritius.
Mr Faurie will also likely complain that residents of the Falklands, who deem themselves British, “take advantage of our education and national health system, under the same conditions as the rest of Argentine citizens”, as previously claimed by his Government.
The delegation will also likely highlight the constructive bilateral approach the UK and Argentina adopted over the Argentine fallen in the Falkland War.
With the guidance of the Red Cross and a joint statement of the two countries, London and Buenos Aires opened the way for the humanitarian plan to help identify most of the those soldiers buried in the Falkland’s Argentine military cemetery under a gravestone reading “Argentine soldier, only known to God”.
The Falkland archipelago, 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.
But 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)