Argentina reignites Falklands row with newspaper letter

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner President Fernandez called for 'territorial integrity' to be restored

Related Stories

Argentina's president has called on the UK government to hand over the Falkland Islands, in an open letter printed in British newspapers.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner urges Prime Minister David Cameron to abide by a 1965 UN resolution to "negotiate a solution" over the islands.

The letter says they were forcibly stripped from Argentina in "a blatant exercise of 19th Century colonialism".

The government said the Falklands' population had chosen to be British.

The Foreign Office said there could be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falklands "unless and until such time as the islanders so wish".

A referendum on the islands' political status is to be held in March.

'Forcibly stripped'

The letter, published as an advert in the Guardian newspaper and the Independent, follows repeated calls by President Fernandez for the islands - which are known as the Malvinas in Argentina - to come under the sovereignty of her nation.

Start Quote

"In the name of the Argentine people, I reiterate our invitation for us to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations”

End Quote President Fernandez

Last year, marked 30 years since the Falklands War, when the islands were occupied by Argentine forces for 74 days.

Ms Fernandez says her letter is published on the same date - 3 January - when, 180 years ago: "Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000 km (8,700 miles) away from London".

She goes on: "The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.

"Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity."

In her final paragraph, she ends: "In the name of the Argentine people, I reiterate our invitation for us to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations."

Argentina says it inherited ownership of the islands from Spain, arguing that British colonists occupied the islands by force in 1833 and expelled settlers, violating Argentina's territorial integrity.

It also bases its claim on the islands' proximity to the South American mainland. The islands' capital, Port Stanley, lies about 1,180 miles (1,898km) from the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.

'Chosen to be British'

The historical account provided by Ms Fernandez differs from the one provided by the Foreign Office on its website.

Whereas Argentina's president says her country was "forcibly stripped" of control in 1833, the Foreign Office site says an interim governor appointed by ministers in Buenos Aires was murdered by his own men and a British warship subsequently "told" his 24-man garrison to leave.

British administration, which dated back to 1765, was therefore resumed.

The Foreign Office website also refers to the 1965 UN resolution which, it says, "invited the British and Argentine governments to begin negotiations 'with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the problem, bearing in mind the provisions and objectives of the UN Charter and... the interests of the population of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).'"

Start Quote

There are three parties to this debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend - the islanders can't just be written out of history”

End Quote Foreign Office spokeswoman

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said that the Falkland Islanders "are British and have chosen to be so".

"They remain free to choose their own futures, both politically and economically, and have a right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter," she added.

"This is a fundamental human right for all peoples.

"There are three parties to this debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend.

"The islanders can't just be written out of history."

In June, UK Prime Minister David Cameron confronted President Fernandez about the issue when they came face-to-face at the G20 summit.

During the exchange, the prime minister rejected her demand for negotiations over the sovereignty of the islands and told her that she should respect the result of a referendum .

The Argentine president had earlier raised her demands at the United Nations, appearing at the annual meeting of the UN decolonisation committee on the 30th anniversary of the end of Argentine occupation.

She used the occasion to reiterate Argentina's opposition to any more wars and to criticise the prime minister's decision to mark the day by flying the Falklands flag over 10 Downing Street.

In December, Argentina protested at Britain's decision to name part of Antarctica, Queen Elizabeth Land. A formal protest note was given to the British ambassador, John Freeman, in Buenos Aires.

The area, which makes up around a third of the British Antarctic Territory, is also claimed by the South American country.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    The Argentinian president alleges "On 03/01/1833 Argentines on these Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy. The UK then began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule."

    So did the Dutch (Curacao, Aruba) and the French (Martinique, Guadeloupe), in fact everyone else. It's called human mobility - it started since we stood up on 2 legs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    It doesn't make any sense for us (UK) to "own" the Falklands, but unfortunately, the 1982 war is still too recent and it would be an insult to the dead to just hand it over to Argentina.

    What is needed is a Hong Kong style solution, where the islands are leased back to us for, say, 100 years, thereby allowing a peaceful transition long after we are all gone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    86.freds dad
    'Could the large potential oil reserves off the Falklands be the reason we don't want to hand them back?'

    Or could it be that the people of the Falklands are British subjects and want to remain under British rule.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    We dont OWN anything,,Falklands isnt ours,in the same way the Channel Isles arent OURS,Gibraltar isnt OURS and neither was India,,it would be like Brazil "owning" The Isle of Man,its just a throw-back from when Britain raped the planet,nothing more,if the Falklanders want a little island,move to one off Scotland!

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    If she bases the Argentine claim on proximity, then we still own half of France, based on historical possession we still own America. Until the islanders declare otherwise they are British and we should defend them. I was a serving member during the conflict and we have a more legitimate reason to send troops there than to the Afghanistan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Thanks 42 BodoPali: Looking at a map tells the story. Time for the UK to graciously remove themselves from the Falklands perhaps with a dispensation that allows the islanders special and protected priviledges akin to the British exit from Hong Kong and maybe retain a few oil rights. In fact why not involve Chris Patton. I am sure he would find this more interesting than running the boring BBC!

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    She obviously a person who doesn't know her history very well!

    The spanish/argentine occupation ended when they LEFT due to pressures from the Penisular war!

    Admitedly it's history is complicated but originally it was discovered by the french, bought by the spanish. Spain and Portugal drew a line down the ocean for ownership. Those 2 being the biggest sea fareing nations at the time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    This is a farcical argument and yet more rubbish from a leader who's purely trying to win votes.

    I think the UK government just needs to tell them straight, you're not having it and that's the end of the discussion. They should then refuse to even dignify the constant requests with a response. If they feel that strongly about it then let them have a go at taking it again...they won't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Argentina is going through political & economic strife again.

    The fact that they are making a lot of noise suggests that they wouldn't risk another invasion

    However, best to beef up defences because if they fell again & with a nice big airport & no British carriers, they would be impossible to retake

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    Which part of the words "Falkland Islanders have the right to self-detemination" does this dopey bird from Argentina not understand?

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    It is probably best to steer clear of the 'colonial vs rights of the population' argument. From a practical point of view and with regard to our overstretched military, withdrawal from the Falklands is a no-brainer for me. PR? a real coup, and a good move internationally. The mechanics? The population is around 2,800, not so many to relocate, 75,000 Rwandans are still living as refugees abroad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    So the islanders have the right to choose. Tell that to the Chagossians!

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    I suggest we make it clear that any attempt to take the Falklands by force will be regarded as an act of all out war which should result in an immediate and decisive attack on all military targets in Argentina.

    Therafter in order to preserve national security and UK interests we should occupy Argentina

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    This is not about sovrenty or what the Argentine or British people want it's about oil. Plain and simple black stuff. As oil gets harder to find the islands become more important. By the way the Argentines have a point; would we accept them colonising the Isle of Wight?

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Could the large potential oil reserves off the Falklands be the reason we don't want to hand them back?

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    If anyone doesn't believe that the island clearly belongs to Argentina, just take a look at the map. The U.K. has no business flexing its military muscle in a place 14000 kilometers away.

    By that logic, Ireland belongs to the UK, Cuba to the US, Sri Lanka to India.

    Do you agree with that? Thought not.
    Pointless comment that makes no sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Just give it back to them. It doesn't even feel like England for god's sake they're all white and talk old english, they haven't even heard of gangsta rap yet. It's just a lump of rock 100,000 thousand miles away off the Argentine coast a bit less than the Isle of Wight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    "United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule" Whereas the Spanish/Nowaday Argentinians wiped out 99.9% TRUE Argentines then began a population implantation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    Well if it's economically viable for us to fight a 10 year war in the middle east against people who aren't our enemies, surely it's economically viable to fight one over a rock in the south atlantic against people we equally don't care about in the grand scheme of things.

    It's not like there's anything more important to do...

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    The main point of President Fernandez's arguement is that the English took the Islands from the Spanish and that it should be returned as they originally had it. Erm I'm pretty sure 1) the Portuguese discovered them first and 2) The Spanish are not native to the south Americas? Next point is, the Islanders want to be under English rule, so stop your moaning and let them be!


Page 30 of 34


More UK stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.