Falklands tops agenda of Argentina election as presidential hopefuls vow to defend islands
Frontrunner Alberto Fernandez said he would renegotiate all agreements with the UK over the islands which were at the centre of a bloody conflict in 1982. Mr Fernandez accused his rival President Macri of “forgetting to claim the islands’ sovereignty”. And he insisted one of is first acts in office would be to make a “full review” of diplomatic agreements relating to the Falklands.
He said: “All these years the Macri government was very much occupied in trade with the UK and with Malvinas and forgot about sovereignty.
“To the memory of our soldiers I’m going to make sure that things are different.
“I demand that again we reinforce our commitment with the Malvinas Islands sovereignty.”
Two advisers to Mr Fernández confirmed his intention to review all the bilateral agreements that were signed with London in in 1989.
One of the aides said: “It’s time to review everything. Thirty years have passed since the Madrid agreement and we have not made any progress.”
Another presidential candidate, outsider Gomez Centurion, also brought up the Falklands at an election event.
He said: “Malvinas is a national cause, but our defence model has been disarticulated.
“We are going to design a defence system in accordance with our country.
“We shall sustain the constitutional mandate to fight to integrate the Malvinas Islands to our territory because it is a national cause.”
Economist and first-time presidential candidate Jose Luis Espert said: “Undoubtedly the Malvinas belong to us, to Argentina. Nobody can discuss that.
“But the United Kingdom usurped the Islands 180 years ago, and unfortunately despite the enormous valour of our combatants 40 years ago, we lost a war.
“The realistic way to recover them is to make the necessary deep changes that will enable us to have the same income level as the UK, so that from that platform even for the Islanders, there would be no excuses in our claim over Malvinas Islands sovereignty.”
The conflict began on April 2 1982 when Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands, followed by the invasion of South Georgia the next day, in an attempt to establish the sovereignty it had claimed over them.
Three days later Margaret Thatcher 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 and ended with the Argentine surrender on June 14, returning the islands to British control. In total, 255 British service personnel, 649 Argentine military personnel and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega