‘Foolish!’ Tory MP savages Argentina's leader for 'tedious' Falkland Islands obsession

‘Foolish!’ Tory MP savages Argentina's leader for 'tedious' Falkland Islands obsession

ARGENTINIAN President Alberto Fernandez's decision to focus on his country's quest for sovereignty of the Falkland Islands during his address to the United Nations yesterday was both foolish and "unbelievably boring", Tory MP Andrew Rosindell has said.

Mr Rosindell, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories, hit back swiftly after Mr Fernandez raised the issue towards the end of his pre-recorded speech, in which he accused the UK of "illegally occupying" the remote archipelago, as well as having an "excessive and unjustified military presence" there. The Tory MP for Romford told Express.co.uk: "With world leaders still dealing with a pandemic that has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, there is much for them to talk about at the United Nations’ 75th General Assembly.

"For Argentina, where there is currently a nationwide quarantine until October 11, and where 470 deaths were tragically recorded on Tuesday, the speech of their President should have been particularly important.

"Unfortunately and inexplicably, President Alberto Fernandez used some of his precious time at the electronic podium talking about the Falkland Islands, in a foolish attempt to distract from the enormous problems he faces at home."

"The UK Government is absolutely clear that the future of the Falkland Islands is up to the people of the Falkland Islands.

"In 2013, the Falkland Islands emphatically told the Argentinian government that they are proud to be British and intend to remain British.

"On a turnout of 92 percent, just three people voted against remaining as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.

"It is unbelievably boring to have to continuously remind the Argentinian government of this basic, democratic right to self-determination."

Mr Fernandez told the UN: "I want to reaffirm the legitimate and imprescriptible sovereign rights of the Argentine Republic over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime spaces, which are an integral part of the national territory of Argentina and which have been illegally occupied by the United Kingdom for more than 187 years.

"This year it will be the 55th anniversary of resolution 2065, the first one adopted by this organisation on this issue, which asked Argentina and the United Kingdom to hold negotiations that would allow reaching a peaceful and definitive solution to this sovereignty dispute.

That order has remained in force and has been renewed many times."

Mr Fernandez also referred to a resolution passed unanimously by the UN's special decolonisation committee, known as C24, on August 5, calling for both sides to engage in a fresh round of negotiations over the future of the islands.

He added: "The United Kingdom persists in its attitude of ignoring the call to resume negotiations regarding the territorial dispute and has aggravated the controversy over calls for the illegal and unilateral exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources in the area, which is contrary to resolution 31/49 of this assembly.

"The UK also insists on the excessive and unjustified military presence on the islands that does nothing more than bringing tension to a region characterised by being a zone of peace and international cooperation."

Argentina has made frequent attempts to use the UN as a way of strengthening its claim over the Falklands over the years, with little success.

In 2013, then-UK Ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant opted to respond to statements about the Falklands made during a UN Security Council Debate, particularly by Cristina Kirchner, who was at the time Argentina's President, and who is now Mr Fernandez's vice-president.

Mr Lyall Grant said: "In her national statement, President Kirchner said that the United Kingdom and Argentina should bilaterally discuss the Falkland Islands.

"The United Kingdom is clear that any such discussion is not just a matter for the two governments.

"The views of the people of the Falkland Islands cannot simply be ignored.

"There can be no discussion of the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands against the wishes of the Islanders."

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