Falklands row boils over as Argentina calls for ‘decolonisation’ of islands

PMQs: Johnson slams opposition over Falklands reaction

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Argentina’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador María del Carmen Squeff supported the national position and supported Argentina’s willingness to “contribute to the decolonisation of the territory”. She pointed out there is a “disproportionate military presence in the South Atlantic”, already denounced by the country.

Ms Squeff urged the UK to begin negotiations “to find a peaceful and definitive solution”, for which she received international support.

The diplomat indicated the Argentine government had reiterated to the Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, its interest in the efforts to assist parties to the dispute with the aim of resuming negotiations through the mission of good offices.

However, she warned that the UK “continues to pursue unilateral activities contrary to General Assembly resolution 31/49, including the illegal exploration and exploitation of renewable and non-renewable resources in the disputed area”.

Mexico backed Argentina’s calls for a “peaceful solution” between the two nations.

Brazil pointed out that the “Malvinas Islands are Argentine territory and that the principle of territorial integrity of States should be observed, in accordance with the essential principles of international law”.

Guatemala reiterated the “strongest support of the countries of the group for the legitimate rights of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas”.

The Fourth Committee’s general debate is expected to continue over the coming days.

More interventions are expected in support of the country’s sovereign rights over the disputed areas.

Argentina and Britain fought a war in 1982 for dominance of the archipelago, in which the South American country was defeated.

The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with an Argentine surrender on June 14, returning the islands to British control.

In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities.

Diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Argentina were restored in 1989 following a meeting in Madrid, at which the two governments issued a joint statement.

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In 1994, Argentina adopted a new constitution, which declared the Falkland Islands by law as an Argentine province.

However, the islands continue to operate as a self-governing British Overseas Territory.

Earlier this year, tensions between Argentina and the UK reached boiling point after the Latin American country issued sanctions to two British companies.

In July, Argentina issued sanctions to three companies – two of which were British – for the alleged illegal exploitation of hydrocarbons in waters north of Falklands.

Argentina claimed they did not have the authorisation of its government, who claim the British Overseas Territory as theirs.

The Argentine secretaries of Energy, Dario Matinez, and of the Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic, Daniel Filmus, said: “These companies are not authorised to operate nor have they requested any type of authorisation.”

The secretaries said they “were committing a crime in Argentina” and the three companies continued to participate in exploratory and exploitation works.

The oil companies are Chrysaor Holdings Limited and Harbor Energy Plc, which are based in Britain, and the Israeli company Navitas Petroleum LP.

The companies had a period of several days to respond to Argentina but if they don’t the country will proceed with their disqualification.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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