Argentina's President Fernandez demands Falklands talks

 

President Fernandez: "How can it be claimed that this territory is part of Britain?"

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has demanded that Britain enter negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

President Fernandez was addressing the UN Committee on Decolonisation on the 30th anniversary of the UK territory's liberation from Argentine occupation.

She said history and geography backed Argentina's claim. But an islander told the committee Argentina was "bullying".

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said there would be "no negotiation".

Earlier on Thursday, the Falklands marked the end of Argentina's 74-day 1982 occupation with a service at Port Stanley's Christ Church cathedral.

Veterans of the war then led a military parade to the Liberation Monument for an act of remembrance, paying tribute to the 255 UK servicemen and three Falklands civilians who died in the war.

An estimated 650 Argentines were also killed during the conflict.

The BBC's Barbara Plett said President Fernandez made as much as she could of her platform at the United Nations, where a majority backs Argentina's demand that the Falklands' status be negotiated.

David Cameron: "When it comes to sovereignty, there will be absolutely no negotiation"

The president was accompanied by more than 90 delegates and raised the diplomatic stakes by travelling to New York personally on the sensitive anniversary of the islands' liberation, our correspondent said.

President Fernandez said that the Malvinas - as Argentina refers to the islands - formed part of the South American continental plate.

"How can it be claimed that, 14,000 kilometres away [8,700 miles], that it can be part of the British territory?" she asked.

"The UK is benefiting from its privileged position as a permanent member of the security council of the United Nations," she said.

"The issue of the Malvinas is a challenge to see whether or not we are capable of overcoming prejudice and cliches that are outdated, because the world has changed and there are new players."

President Fernandez said Argentina was "just asking to talk" about the islands' sovereignty and the fact they were still under British rule was "an affront to the world which we all dream of".

'Lust for lands'

The Falklands War

Falklands map
  • 2 April 1982: Argentine forces invade Falkland Islands. Other British South Atlantic territories including South Georgia are seized shortly afterwards
  • 5 April: A British task force of more than 100 ships sets sail for the South Atlantic
  • 25 April: South Georgia is recaptured by British forces.
  • 2 May: Argentine cruiser General Belgrano sunk by HMS Conqueror, killing more than 320
  • 21 May: Three thousand British troops begin landing at San Carlos on East Falkland
  • 28-29 May: British forces recapture Goose Green.
  • 8 June: British landing craft are bombed at Fitzroy, killing more than 50 men
  • 13 June: Argentine positions on mountains overlooking the capital Port Stanley are taken
  • 14 June: Argentine forces surrender. British troops march into Stanley

255 British servicemen and three Falklands civilians died during the conflict. The number of Argentine dead is estimated at about 650

Two Falkland Islands legislators also spoke at the same session, where they insisted on their right to self-determination.

Legislator Mike Summers said Falkland Islanders had a "distinct and clear identity" and considered the islands to be their country and home.

"As much as Argentina might like to airbrush us out of existence to satisfy its unjustified lust for our lands, such behaviour belongs to another era and should not be tolerated in the modern world," he said.

Mr Summers tried to pass a letter offering talks with the Falklands government to President Fernandez but could not get close enough.

Argentina's foreign minister refused to take the document telling the legislator to "send it to my embassy".

In a speech at the Falkland Islands Government reception on Thursday evening, David Cameron spoke of "aggression from over the water".

"My message to the government of Argentina is this: the UK has no aggressive intentions towards you.

"Accusations of militarisation and nuclear threats are hyperbole and propaganda.

"But do not under-estimate our resolve," he added.

"Threats will not work, attempts to intimidate the islanders will not succeed, because Britain stands ready and willing to stand up for the Falkland Islanders at any time.

"As long as they wish to remain a British territory, that is the way it will stay."

Mr Cameron paid tribute to the bravery of those who served in the Falklands and said Britain would always be in their debt.

Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne attended the service in Port Stanley. He said it was "hard to convey" to the wider world "just how much this means to the Falkland Islanders".

"There are hundreds of people gathered here in what is frankly really freezing cold, inhospitable weather, and they are doing that because they are so grateful for what we achieved on their behalf 30 years ago," he said.

In London the Falklands' flag flew over government buildings.

 

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Falklands tensions

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  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1247.

    Just give it back to them. We do not belong there and it is most definately not worth another life unless there is oil there.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1245.

    The Falkland People themselves have the Right to Determine their own Future...End Of! The Argument President Fernandez uses makes no Logic at all. If we follow her model then we need to de-populate America and Australia and all the other countries that were originally colonised by the British....Its Actually laughable if it wasnt so serious!!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1239.

    I think distance is totally irrelevant, Whether it is 8,000 or 300 miles. The law of the sea is generally 12 miles for territorial waters and a maximum 200 for some. Argentina is further away than that. Most people in democratic countries would approve of self-determination. Let the islanders have a vote and then let the world abide by the result.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1157.

    I was in Argentina at the beginning of the year, it is a pleasant country with, in my experience, equally pleasant people. They clearly have their economic problems, and it is very sad for the vast majority of decent peace loving Argentinians that they are being let down by another politician on an ego trip. Ms.Kirchner should focus on the real issue which are the economy, and not the Islands.

  • rate this
    +70

    Comment number 728.

    We could start with talks on compensation to the UK for the cost of the Falklands War and the cost of us having to keep a military presence. Included with this should be compensation for the island's population.

    Once that's settled, the Argentinians will have to ensure that the UK and Falkland Islanders access to Argentinian ports and airports is reinstated.

    Yes, talks could prove useful!

 

Comments 5 of 11

 

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