Sunday 20 January 2019

Falklands 'no obstacle' to Argentine foreign minister's path to UN top job

The disputed territory of the Falklands is regularly raised by Argentina at the UN
The disputed territory of the Falklands is regularly raised by Argentina at the UN

Argentina's foreign minister has said there is no conflict of interest between her bid to be the next UN secretary-general and her work pressing her country's sovereignty claim over the Falkland Islands.

Buenos Aires has long claimed the Atlantic archipelago as its own, calling the British overseas territory the Malvinas. Argentina staged an ill-fated invasion in 1982 that was repelled by Britain.

As foreign minister Susana Malcorra has lobbied for Argentina's claim and recently brought it up with Prime Minister David Cameron. Argentina regularly raises the issue at the UN.

Ms Malcorra said she sees no incompatibility between that and her becoming secretary-general.

Ms Malcorra is a former UN under secretary-general and chief of staff to secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

His term ends on December 31.

Ms Malcorra said: "What we have been saying regarding the Malvinas is what we have said since the day we took office ... and I see no incompatibility."

The secretary-general is chosen by the 193-member General Assembly on the recommendation of the 15-member Security Council, of which the United Kingdom is a permanent member.

Traditionally, the secretary-general job has rotated among regions, and people from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe have all held the post.

Some in eastern Europe, including Russia, argue that their region has never had one of their own as secretary-general and it is their turn.

A group of 56 nations has also been lobbying for the United Nations to get its first female chief.

Press Association

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