Falklands FURY: UK holds talks with Argentina over key Falkland Islands issue

Falklands FURY: UK holds talks with Argentina over key Falkland Islands issue

ARGENTINA and UK have had breakthrough talks over finding the identities of unknown soldiers who died in the Falkland Islands during the 1982 conflict.

The UK claimed the Falklands 187 years ago and won a war over the territory in 1982. The conflict which lasted around 74 days left around 649 invading Argentine soldiers and 255 British dead.

Since then, current President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez has insisted his nation will not agree to British demands to give up sovereignty claims for the Falklands.

But the UK has hit back stressing Falkland Islanders wish to remain part of the UK.

However, in a key step towards diplomacy between the two nations, UK ambassador to Argentina Mark Kent met with Argentine foreign minister Felipe Solá to advance to a new stage in a Humanitarian Project Plan in helping to identify unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the islands.

Both countries have agreed to submit a new request to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which will act as a neutral intermediary for the identification of the remains buried in graves in the Argentine Military Cemetery at Darwin on the islands.

Mr Kent said: “We hope that the new phase of the Humanitarian Project Plan will help bring closure to families who lost their loved ones in the conflict.

”As during the first phase, we set aside our differences because we believe humanitarian issues take priority over any political issue.

“I would like to thank the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Argentine Foreign Ministry, the Falkland Islands Government, the Islanders and the families of the fallen for contributing to making this project a reality.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) first began DNA work in 2017 to identify unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the islands.

So far in initial stages, 115 people have been identified and their families informed where their relatives are buried.

But Mr Sola’s colleague Daniel Filmus warned the UK there was “no more room for colonialism in the 21st century" referring to Britain’s claim of the islands in 1833.

Mr Filmus highlighted the need to deepen the claim on the exercise of sovereignty claiming the UK whom he refers to as “a foreign power” is “taking the wealth of the 45 million Argentine men and women”.

He claimed this move by the UK was “hurting us” adding “it is not fair and it is also contrary to resolutions which says neither of the two countries can make resolutions on the disputed territory”.

Coming onto the identification of the fallen soldiers in the North Atlantic War of 1982, Mr Filmus argued they were still working in a “good climate with the United Kingdom because we believe that it is a State policy that began in 2010, which required recovering the DNA of all the families”.

He added: “It is unthinkable since 1982 that there were soldiers who were not identified and today there are still.

“And in this, we continue to dialogue and carry out an agreement with the United Kingdom.”

Argentina is clamping down on the Falklands matter after the nation’s congress unanimously approved three bills in relation to fisheries earlier this year.

One of them involves the formation of a new council composed of government members, opposition, veterans and academia.

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.

Dr Barry Elsby, Deputy Chair of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, said: “We freely committed to this humanitarian work in the 2016 Joint Communiqué signed by the British and Argentine Governments, and agreed with the Falkland Islands Government.

“It signals that all three parties recognise the significance of the Joint Communiqué and, despite the challenging global pandemic, the need to progress other matters covered within the Communiqué, such as removing obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development of the Falkland Islands and protecting fish stocks.

“Our government stands ready to work with regional partners to develop a regional fisheries management plan and to progress other matters of mutual interest.

“Anyone who has visited our home and has knowledge of the Falkland Islands will understand our desire to see further positive action in respect of the Communiqué and can appreciate the work that has already been done in terms of the humanitarian aspects of that agreement.”

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