We WON'T give up! Argentina vows to press ahead with claims for Falklands sovereignty

We WON'T give up! Argentina vows to press ahead with claims for Falklands sovereignty

A SENIOR Argentine official has branded the UK's sovereignty over the Falklands illegal and warned Buenos Aires was doing everything it could to bring the islands under its control.

Guillermo Chaves, Chief of Staff to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Argentina's sovereignty over the Falklands was "a matter of national identity". He said his government was working "with all diplomatic mechanisms to bring it back" under the country's control.

He said: "We sanctioned three laws: the continental shelf, which practically tripled the territory of our country as approved by the UN in 2016; the fishing law was modified to update the fines for illegal fishing boats in our Exclusive Economic Zone; and the Malvinas observatory was approved so that it is a state policy and not of any government".

Mr Chaves said Argentina's claim on the islands should not be subject to "passionate or rational discussion" and insisted it was an "illegally usurped territory".

And he stressed ministers were determined to bring it back under the Argentine flag.

The official accused Argentina's previous Mauricio Macri administration of hampering the country's campaign for Falklands sovereignty with its acceptance of the Foradori-Duncan agreement - named after former UK foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan and his Argentine counterpart Carlos Foradori.

Mr Chaves said: "The previous government hindered the Malvinas cause after Foradori-Duncan agreement that generated an exchange of technical and scientific information with serious damage to Argentina and its international relations."

The 2016 accord set out areas of closer co-operation for the two countries through increasing trade links, uncovering new investment opportunities, strengthening cultural ties, tackling corruption and organised crime, and increasing links in science and technology.

The Foreign Office insisted the statement did not affect the sovereignty of the islands and the UK remains absolutely clear in its support of the rights of the islanders.

But the Falklands has been steadily climbing back up the political agenda since Mr Macri was defeated by Alberto Fernandez in last year's presidential elections and was central to Argentina's presentation to the United National General Assembly earlier this year.

Mr Fernandez told delegates: "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 said: "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.

More recently, Central American countries have declared their support for Argentine sovereignty over the Falkland Islands at the UN.

All eight members of the States of the Central American Integration System, SICA, were represented by Nicaragua at the UN Special Decolonisation Committee on the issue of the Falklands.

The eight members are, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

All members agreed that Argentina should be given sovereignty over the islands.

Ambassador and permanent representative of Nicaragua to the UN Jaime Hermida Castillo expressed his support for the rights of the Argentine Republic to take sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands and their surrounding maritime spaces.

He stressed the governments of the Argentine Republic and the UK should resume negotiations in order to find a peaceful and definitive solution to the dispute.

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