Thursday 22 February 2018

UN 'backs Argentina over Falklands'

Argentina's foreign minister Hector Timerman has addressed the UN's Special Committee on Decolonisation
Argentina's foreign minister Hector Timerman has addressed the UN's Special Committee on Decolonisation

Argentina received "strong support" from the United Nations after it renewed its claim on the Falklands, according to its embassy in London.

Argentinian foreign minister Hector Timerman told the UN's Special Committee on Decolonisation in New York he regretted "the intransigence of the United Kingdom" as he restated calls for London to enter negotiations over the sovereignty of the archipelago his country calls the Malvinas.

The committee backed a resolution, sponsored by Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, calling for a "peaceful and negotiated settlement", Argentine officials said.

"Once again, Argentina received strong support by the United Nations Special Decolonisation Committee, which met today in New York to discuss the Malvinas question," a statement from the Embassy of Argentina said.

"The committee is the UN body that specifically deals with the still-pending colonial situations, including the dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands. As in previous years, the committee adopted by consensus a resolution reiterating that the only way 'to put an end to the special and particular colonial situation' in the Malvinas Islands is the 'peaceful and negotiated settlement of the dispute over sovereignty between the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom'.

"This year's resolution, which has been sponsored by Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, 'regrets that, in spite of the widespread international support for a negotiation' between the two countries, 'the implementation of the General Assembly resolutions on this question has not yet started', and requests the 'resumption of negotiations in order to find as soon as possible a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute'."

Falklands legislative assembly member Sharon Halford also appeared before the committee to rebuff Mr Timerman's demands, and to urge the UN to respect the overwhelming result of this year's referendum, in which islanders voted by 1,513 to three to remain a British overseas territory.

The Foreign Office in London insisted earlier on Thursday that the body "no longer has a relevant role to play" with respect to British overseas territories, arguing that it was "insulting" to describe their relationship with the UK as colonial.

Mrs Halford said that the message from the referendum in March was clear: "We, the people of the Falklands, are happy with our current relationship with the UK. It is not an anachronistic or colonial situation as characterised by Argentina, but a modern relationship where the UK listens to our wishes and we are responsible for our own internal self-government." She told the committee: "I hope that the islanders have spoken loudly enough for people to hear them around the world."

Thursday's meeting comes 31 years after the successful military operation to retake the islands from an Argentinian invasion force, and one year after Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner reignited the row over the Falklands by appearing before the same committee.

Press Association

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