Argentina confident UN ruling will allow them to make grab for the Falkland Islands

Argentina confident UN ruling will allow them to make grab for the Falkland Islands

03/02 - 13:15 - BREXIT could have a direct impact on Argentina's claim of sovereignty over the Falklands, according to officials in Buenos Aires.

Daniel Filmus, Argentine secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic, believes Britain’s departure from the European Union could result in some allies rowing back on their support for the UK’s position. When asked if Brexit might be beneficial for Argentina’s claim for sovereignty of the islands he replied: “It could be, yes. The effects are still unknown, but it is clear."

Mr Filmus said: “Recently, the UK faced a vote in the UN in the case of the Chagos archipelago.

“It is interesting to see how European countries change. They had virtually no support.

“That decision indicated that the UK had six months to leave the archipelago and restore it to Mauritius.

“Seven months have passed and it has not done so. The UK ignores what the Assembly says but Brexit changes European politics.

“That is also seen in European statements on the issue of Malvinas and Gibraltar.”

Mr Filmus also criticised the previous government of President Mauricio Macri for its handling of the Falklands dialogue.

He said: “The previous government lowered the intensity of the sovereignty claim.

“We will review all the work that was done with the United Kingdom, but we will not take action.

“In some cases, they decided to continue, as in the identification of soldiers, something that we had started during our administration in 2010.”

Mr Filmus said the new Argentinian administration was studying all the issues in which progress was made, such as fishing, flights and natural resources.

He said: “Argentina will study all aspects that include the appropriation by the British of natural resources that are Argentine.

“We will continue with all the judicial complaints about the companies that are exploring hydrocarbons in the region and defending our interests in the fishing that is being done in our territory.”

Mr Filmus said Buenos Aires would continue to push its claims on the Falklands through diplomacy.

He said: “We are proud that Argentine democracy has decided that the only way to recover sovereignty is diplomacy and peace.

“We will continue to claim in that way. We are sure that the world condemnation to put an end to colonialism will eventually end this situation, just as it will end the cases of Chagos and Gibraltar.”

Argentina invaded the Falklands on April 2 1982, sparking a bitter 10-week conflict which shook the world.

Margaret Thatcher’s government 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 an Argentine surrender on 14 June, returning the islands to British control.

In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders were killed during the hostilities. Argentina has never given up its claim for the islands.

(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega).