Argentina reignites Falklands row with newspaper letter

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

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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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 680.

    It is about time for the monarchs to get a job, work for their money, stop leaving off the the hard work or their own people, and the exploitation of peple from other lands.

  • rate this

    Comment number 679.

    Argentina claims to oppose colonialism, yet Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands is based on inheriting the islands via a Spanish colonial claim, which, by the way, Spain has long given up. Maybe the UN could ask how many other, similarly qualifying former Spanish colonies in South America, Central America and the United States the Argentine Empire intends to similarly claim as its colonies?

  • rate this

    Comment number 678.

    Sibbwolf - I've spent all day refuting claims like yours son, it's always the same boring none sense. The reality is I don't care what you think. These people should not be there on moral grounds. End of story. And remember, I couldn't care a less who owns them, not in the slighest bit interested about Argentina or anyone else. They should live in the UK if they wish to be considered British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 677.

    @675, thankfully, the vast majority of polls are independent of Westminster, and show that the Falklanders want to be British.

    You don't like that?

    You brave enough to tell that, despite them wanting to be British, you're handing them over to whoever?

  • rate this

    Comment number 676.

    Ironic that the Argentines bleat about colonialism when they are arch-colonialists themselves.

    As for the Argentine claim on the Falklands, it is simply laughable. Plus, if you believe in self determination, the wishes of the islanders trump all. Not like there's an Argentine population there...

  • rate this

    Comment number 675.

    Vboulderer - 1830 is where most of you guys on here belong. Your opinions have no place in a modern world. You've got me all wrong, I couldn't care a less who owns them, so long as it's not us. If you think I trust or care what the UN, EU, UK Government or any other corrupt self serving invention of man says, you're sadly mistaken my funny little friend. Nuff said really ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 674.

    Argentina has hugely divisive economic and social problems so it suits President Fernandez to try and focus attention on an external issue that she hopes will unify her people behind her. But, she is dismissive of anyone who doesn't agree with her, so it isn't surprising that she treats the islanders, like all dissenting voices at home, with contempt. Argentina - Great country, abysmal president.

  • rate this

    Comment number 673.


    "I reckon 90% of British Citizens could not even point these islands out on a map."

    They probably couldn't before 1982, but then again a contemporary survey showed that 60% of them couldn't point to Bristol on a map of the UK.

    Oh: there's another HYS debate running too: "Argentina rebuffed over Falklands" if you fancy some more nock-about fun and general ignorance!

  • rate this

    Comment number 672.

    @670 - I supect it'll be moot. There's a reason the SNP are waiting as late as possible before a referendum - they know if held right now they'd lose. The SNP has a majority because people have been impressed - for the most part - with how they've run things. But the SNP also know a large minority of their voters don't want the union split-up. Some outside Scotland can't get their head round that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 671.

    666.religion hater And the vast majority of people on here think claiming ownership to a country14,000 km away is OK in 2013?
    No, we claimed that in the 1830's and the Islanders have chosen to stay that way. And it isn't just the people on here but the Islanders themselves, the British Govt, the international community etc etc. Basically everyone but you and Argentina - nuff said really;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 670.


    "It is amusing how many posters today think that Britain is someone still "great"....."

    Britain become "Great" by virtue of the union of Britain and Scotland, so presumably we will remain Great for a couple more years yet (at least)!

    Mind you, if Scotland goes for independence will they be wanting the Isle of Man back as well, or are they grown-ups?

  • Comment number 669.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 668.

    @Religion hater, now see yourself as a martyr because you don't have the ability to fight your corner?

    I've laid out the facts quite neatly for you to refute, if you can. there's no persecution in that.

    As to your question: We are not claiming ownership. The people of the Falkland Islands have made it clear before and looking at the trends will again: They want to be British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 667.

    "I now know how socrates and galileo felt."

    Religion hater, don't flatter yourself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 666.

    You gotta love it ! The BBC yet again moderating perfectly fair responses to peoples questions?People think you are a troll for having a mind of your own?And the vast majority of people on here think claiming ownership to a country14,000 km away is OK in 2013? Dear me, we truly don't have any hope as a human race. I now know how socrates and galileo felt.

  • Comment number 665.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 664.

    @religion hater; fact is if Argentina wants to pull "we got there first card", they lose out, not only to Britain but ultimately France (who back Britain).

    The territory card holds no water, either: The UN recognises the right to self-determination and says the current population must be happy with the outcome of any negotiations: Argentina wants to expel them.

    Game, set, match for Falklanders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 663.

    "religion hater
    Anyone who claims land 14,000 km from here rightly belongs to us, is in my crank category"

    You mean like Reunion in the Indian Ocean is part of France (an actual department, not a mere dependent territory), Aruba is part of the kingdom of the Netherlands and Guam is a possession of the USA? Pitcairn islands must be 30,000 km from the UK too!

  • rate this

    Comment number 662.

    659.religion hater
    'I've been responding to cranks all day'

    Hmm definition of a crank being 'An eccentric person, especially one who is unduly zealous'. Remind you of anyone logic hater? Been replying to yourself all day?

  • rate this

    Comment number 661.

    Ignore her, just a wind up merchant with no credibility whatsoever...


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