Tuesday 6 December 2016

UK rejects Argentinian calls for Falklands negotiations

Published 24/06/2016 | 05:26

Sunset over Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Sunset over Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Recovering sovereignty of the Falkland Islands remains a "permanent and unrelinquished" objective of the Argentine people, the country's foreign minister has told the United Nations.

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Susana Malcorra also called for the dispute over the UK territory to be resolved through negotiations.

The UK has rejected any discussion over sovereignty despite a United Nations committee adopting a non-binding resolution calling for a negotiated solution.

Ms Malcorra told the Special Committee on Decolonisation that the concept of self-determination is not absolute and did not apply in the case of the Falklands because the current inhabitants had been placed there by Britain after they seized the islands in 1833.

She said: "The passing of time has not eroded the validity of our claim, nor the strength of our conviction that this protracted sovereignty dispute must be solved through negotiations between the two parties involved."

The resolution, adopted by consensus, was one of dozens adopted over the years calling for the two countries to negotiate the sovereignty of the islands which have a population of around 3,000.

The UK has rejected all of them, saying it is up to the islanders to decide.

The British Mission to the UN said: "The 2013 referendum - in which 99.8% of those who voted wanted to maintain their current status - sent a clear message that the people of the islands do not want dialogue on sovereignty.

"Argentina should respect those wishes."

The two countries fought a brief war in 1982 after Argentina invaded the islands and were repelled by British forces.

Ms Malcorra, who is often cited as a leading candidate for UN Secretary-General in this year's election to replace Ban Ki-moon, pointed out that the war was fought at a time when Argentina was ruled by a military dictatorship, and thus should not disqualify a negotiated settlement.

Mike Summers, a member of the Falkland Islands government legislative assembly, told the committee that islanders are happy with the current situation.

He said: "Falkland Islanders are comfortable with the constitutional relationship we have with the United Kingdom.

"We have a right to move away from it if we so wished, but there is no current wish to do so."

He also rejected Ms Malcorra's characterisation of Falkland Islanders as an implanted population.

"We are a people in our own right, who deeply care for our country and our home. We are Falkland Islanders. It has taken us around 160 years to decolonise from the United Kingdom, and we have no intention of becoming a colony of any other claimant," Mr Summers said, pointing out his family has lived there for six generations.

Press Association

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