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The Falklands issue

Nick Robinson | 00:00 UK time, Saturday, 28 March 2009

"There is nothing to discuss."

That - we're told - will be Gordon Brown's answer if and when Argentina's president raises the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands when the two meet later today.

It will be the first meeting between the leaders of the UK and Argentina for more than five years.

President Kirchner is due in London next week to attend the G20 summit, which coincides with the 27th anniversary of the invasion of the Falklands ordered by General Galtieri.

Though now a democracy, Argentina still claims sovereignty over the Falklands whilst Britain insists that the future of the islands is a matter for its residents alone.

The prime minister and the president have agreed to meet today - at a less sensitive time - in Chile - a less sensitive location - in the margins of a conference of centre-left leaders.

Whilst there is a stand-off on sovereignty, both sides are hoping to make progress on restoring flights between the Falklands and the mainland, allowing islanders to trade more easily and relatives to visit the graves of those Argentine soldiers who died in the war.


  • Comment number 1.

    I get the feeling Kirchner will stick in the knife too. If Gordon comes out with the line you suggest then what the Argentinians got to lose?

    There are domestic problems with Argentine farmers

    So a dig at GB about the Malvinas will go down well with domestic opinion in Argentina.

    I think Gordon will be 0 and 3 as the American's say for his trip to South America.

  • Comment number 2.

    Of course there is somethng to discuss, as there always is. The fall-back argument that the inhabitants have to decide is an easy escape route for UK governments to avoid the issue and ignore the legitimate claim Argentina has over the islands. Having said that, resort to force can never be justified under any circumstances.

  • Comment number 3.

    I have heard that the Falklanders need more employments oportunities, so I propose that the UK Government amends its laws to allow the consruction and use of a high security prison, in which all murderers and rapists are sent for the duration of their senstences. the Falkland Islanders will have the construction jobs and the work as guards and food/supplies vendors and the UK prison population will become more manageable. Also of course if the Argies want the islands they will have to take the prisoners too. Done deal..

  • Comment number 4.

    just how much is this jaunt costing ????? can we have some figures on it ???

    All he is doing is keeping out of the firing line at home.Thats
    where he should be and organising an election....let the British people decide if we think his policies are good !!!

    And before he starts pledging money to support IMF bailouts perhaps he could organise one for us !!!! the IMF seem to think we need it !

  • Comment number 5.

    Had Galtieri not invaded they'd be half way to having them back, up to the invasion both parties had been trying to offload them back to Argentina in order to save money, but the islanders steadfastly refused even joint nationality.

    Of course, it's all a bit more tricky now with gold, gas and oil deposits being found around the islands - I wouldn't be too surprised if they had another crack at invading if Argentinian politics started getting murky, especially given the current economic situation and how stretched the UK forces are.

  • Comment number 6.

    "The fall-back argument that the inhabitants have to decide is an easy escape route for UK governments to avoid the issue and ignore the legitimate claim Argentina has over the islands."

    It's over a hundred miles offshore. If Argentina has a legitimate claim over the islands, France has the same claim over Britain. The only legitimate claim is that of the islanders for self-determination.

  • Comment number 7.

    There is nothing to talk about. We won. The Belgrano ought to have been a lesson to those Agentine trouble makers.

    Any discussion of surrendering our sovereign rights is treasonous. End of.

  • Comment number 8.

    The Falklands Issue That is simple answer that there will be NO negotiations between the United Kingdom and Argentina authorities....

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 9.

    "It's over a hundred miles offshore. If Argentina has a legitimate claim over the islands, France has the same claim over Britain. The only legitimate claim is that of the islanders for self-determination."

    Las Malvinas are 6,000 miles away from Britain. Regardless of whether Argentina's claim is legitimate or not, to conclude the Islands should be British is ridiculous. Here's a crazy idea: if the Islanders want to be British, and want to live under British rule, why don't we let them fly on a one way ticket to London?

  • Comment number 10.

    I bet Mr Brown would rather talk about the Falklands than his beloved global fiscal stimulus considering the embarrassment he has suffered lately.

  • Comment number 11.

    "There is nothing to discuss."

    Another cracker. And, in many ways, a neat summary of the opinions of many in 'high' places when it suits, if the last few days are anything to go on.

    I once wrote a piece for my Uni rag entitled 'My great, great, great, great... grandad was Roman comfort boy, and I claim compo', to highlight how taking convenient moments in history to try and wangle a deal based on dodgy military practices and/or geography, etc, was daft at best, cynically opportunistic at worst.

    I read Monkeybot5000... and then nickgerz, and on balance think the latter has a chance with the Italians if he'd like to take over where I left off. As with his liberal last line, it all would set an interesting precedent at least. If not get a few neat wars started. 'Simpson, Adie, Bowen et al... pack your bags, there's airmiles, ratings and profit to be made!'

  • Comment number 12.

    If this Government says "Nothing to Discuss" then read the exact opposite.

  • Comment number 13.

    "The prime minister and the president have agreed to meet today - at a less sensitive time - in Chile - a less sensitive location"

    Therefore, Argentina is considered a too sensitive location for Brown to meet the man who will attend the G20 in London next week! What an amazing and worrying statement. I have been waiting for the Argentinians to raise the Falklands question again and seeing our weakness they surely will. This Brown ego-trip has been a worsening disaster with every day that passed.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm just getting over waking up so early (not Eric Pickles early, but it is Saturday), and have recalled a conversation in the pub last night about the Falklands, unaware that Dear Leader had crash landed in South America as well.

    'About the only thing that could save him now is a war like the Falklands,' said one. We all laughed. Then paused.

    He wouldn't. He couldn't. Could he?

  • Comment number 15.

    He is just setting himself up for another battering - poor chap cannot help himself.

    Gordon come home - you are embarrassing us.

  • Comment number 16.

    There is no issue until Coalite stop their drilling.

  • Comment number 17.

    Unfortunately I never believe a word Gordon says nowadays. Nothing may be said in public; but how is Brown going to stop the islands being talked about if his host raises the subject. Which I am sure will happen - if only for public consumption.

    Nick, perhaps you can answer the question that is starting to vex most of us back home. Why on earth has Brown embarked on this world tour when everyone he has met has been only too willing to humiliate him in the most public way possible? In hindsight would it not have been far better for him to have stayed at home? We all know nothing will come of the G20 meeting anyway. Instead of getting a consensus on the way forward, all he has done is to highlight the vast differences between the G20 leaders on the way they intend dealing with the fall out from the banking crisis.

    Brown`s own standing back home has become a national joke. He has gained a smirk, when being berated for his foolish ways, only eclisped by that of Hazel Blears.

  • Comment number 18.

    Brownstuff is so busy gallivanting around the world, knocking his 'green' credential into oblivion, he's 'out at the moment' and avoiding the flak as best as he can.... running true to form, just like all bullies. Just wish he'd go into political oblivion. The man is disgusting, and is far to egotistical to see it. Bully Brown will have his 'knock about' with Kirchner... and during the KO, Kirchner should throw him out to the G2 wolves that will be baying at the doors of government during this summit.

  • Comment number 19.

    deanthetory @7 wrote:

    "Any discussion of surrendering our sovereign rights is treasonous. End of."

    This statement contradicts your eagerness (as may be seen in your numerous postings on Mark Mardell's Blog) to surrender British sovereignty to that nascent federal super-state aka the EU.


  • Comment number 20.

    Hey ho... so eager to 'have a go' I miss out the 0 , I do mean G20 :o)

  • Comment number 21.

    One can only hope that The Great Leader isn't hoping to open a Third Front - surely Iraq and Afghanistan are quite sufficient for our overstretched forces.

  • Comment number 22.

    "There is nothing to discuss. Unless, of course you are interested in buying them, Ms.Kirchner? You see, I have a small cash flow problem so if you do have a few dollars statched away and you could see your way clear . . . . ?"

  • Comment number 23.

    And when we thought this farce was coming to an end here we go again. Another desperate attempt to divert the media attention from the real problems (has anybody heard today Margaret Beckett's sombre announcement that the government will miss by miles their housing target?)and we have a totally unnecessary "strong" statement on the Falklands. Yesterday we were all "shocked" to hear that the Government had TALKED to the Royals about reforms (so what? would say Ed Balls, our PM in waiting). We are all looking forward to the end of the G20 when Gordon will be forced to deal with domestic problems and attend PM Question Time. Or will he ...?

  • Comment number 24.

    17. briangare

    He has gained a smirk, when being berated for his foolish ways, only eclisped by that of Hazel Blears.

    As the Great Bard wrote: Then lend the eye a terrible aspect! Henry V

  • Comment number 25.

    I agree with thenodio #22 - it's time to sell some assets. Perhaps we should invite all South American countries to bid for them. Chile seems to have some cash to spend.

  • Comment number 26.

    junk @ 11

    I once wrote a piece for my Uni rag entitled 'My great, great, great, great... grandad was a Roman comfort boy"

    hey, have you still got that? ...

  • Comment number 27.

    WOT no review ..... Astonishing

  • Comment number 28.

  • Comment number 29.

    Having this meeting now is good both for Brown and for Kirchner. President Kirchner's domestic constituency will not allow her to come to the UK on the Malvinas Day public holiday - the 27th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falklands and the day the Argentines remember their war dead - and act as though the islands do not exist. But at the same time, Brown is her closest ally on international economic policy and she doesn't want to alienate him.

    Brown is worried that the summit could be sidetracked by this issue if he refuses to have the conversation, and if he has to have it he'd rather have it at a lower-profile event than half-way through the G20. If they get it out of the way now, then Kirchner can say that she's already had that meeting, and the summit can stick to economics.

    Funnily enough, Brown is right (from a British perspective) that there is nothing to discuss. Self-determination is crucial under international law - but even if it wasn't, the foundations of the Argentine claim are shaky at best.

  • Comment number 30.

    There is nothing to discuss says our Prime Sinister.

    Be afraid Falkand Islanders, be very afraid.

  • Comment number 31.

    Of course there is something to discuss....

    Like every thing else in the country G.Brown will consider the islands and their oil reserves as something he can sell.

    If Argentina were to offer him some cash for him to spend im sure that he would find a way to do a deal....

    After all his local bank has said no to increasing his (will the tax payers and their children, grand children, and great grand childrens) overdraft.

  • Comment number 32.

    It's astonishing that Brown could be so robust in defending the constitution of a British outpost many thousands of miles away, yet has done everything possible to dismantle the British constitution and our own traditions back home. Now we see moves to introduce disestablishment via the back door, it seems nothing is off-limits to this out-of-control control freak as he tries to distract us from the problems he has created.

  • Comment number 33.

    #28. oldrightie

    I couldn't get to pg from the link.
    To open paste address into browser. Nice one old.

  • Comment number 34.

    #25 - Richard_SM

    LOL. Well he sold all the gold which is above ground so maybe it's a logical extension.

    "Offers for this nice little lot? Little bit of gold, hot and cold running oil, loads of plankton and more sheep than you could throw a stick at. Now what am I bid?"

  • Comment number 35.


    I find this fascinating. No doubt Gordon can now return to the UK saying how brilliant he is because he has not given way on the Falklands. He has defeated a cunning plot by the Argentians, they were probably never going to mention it anyway. What he may ask them is to request the Argentinians to explain how to get over the problem of people disappearing and then being tortured. I gather that the Junta was very good at that. Can't wait for the result of the inquiry which will be heard, somewhen, somewhere, there's a time and a place.

  • Comment number 36.

    deanthetory 7

    This is a strange one coming from you on Sovereign Rights when you believe so fervently in the EU.

    I do not expect an answer, as I have not had the last three I sent you answered yet.

  • Comment number 37.

    Brown needs carting off by the men in white coats, and quickly.

  • Comment number 38.

    I find this new format very difficult to use. Hard to scroll, and not user friendly. I still say, if it works don't fix it!

  • Comment number 39.

    When the Junta explained their reasons for invading the Falkland Islands, Galtieri famously declared that there was no point in any further talking, so we have decided to resolve it once and for all by force. It was decided once and for all when UK forces went down there and sorted it. The Argies need to be told that there is no point in further "negotiations" until they have something different than their old position to put on the table for consideration. UK governments should not keep giving each new Argie president a whiff of oxygen simply because they made all the same old pledges in order to get elected.

  • Comment number 40.

    26. At 11:24am on 28 Mar 2009, sagamix wrote: junk @ 11

    Somewhere in a dusty loft, maybe. It was an era when the only computers were in the Engineering lab, ran with Fortran cards and one error meant a small rain forest of print out.

    So... not handy. Sorry.

  • Comment number 41.

    It all seems a bit silly.

    Argentina is a construct imposed on the "natives" by a bunch of Europeans.

    The Falklands have been disputed for 300 hundred years. (Not quite the same way as some Scot Nationals seem to feel so strongly about on this little island...) NOT disputed by the natives - there don't seem to have been many (if any) - when Spanish, French and Brits occupied some bits of the islands. The US also had a de facto management of these islands for a short time, I believe.

    If fairly close "off-shore" islands belong to a country that is part of a bigger mainland, then the UK and Ireland "belongs" to France.

    Hope fellow bloggers are working had at their French.

    A bientot.

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    As an ex adviser of Tony Blair said on This Week the other night 'It doesn't really matter what Gordon Brown says these days because people are simply choosing not to listen to him'.

  • Comment number 44.

    dean @ 7 and suze @ 36

    hi Dean ... never mind about answering Susan, I'd like another post from you, please, using the phrase "societal cleavages" ...

  • Comment number 45.

    You mean he won't discuss the matter the same has he didn't do with the Eu referendum we were promised.


    It does not matter how much you ham up your buddy Brown, the man is finished along with his party so I'd start and butter up to big Dave before the next election.

  • Comment number 46.

    Lets talk about the state of the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm and the Joint force Harrier of the R.A.F. Before we talk about any overseas teritory or national interest. Words are all very well but they must be backed up by existing and FUTURE military power.

    strengthen our defences and then talk.

  • Comment number 47.

    "The dire state of Britain's public finances means the country may have to go to the IMF for a financial bailout, according to billionaire investor George Soros."

    Can it just get any worse for Gordon? I wonder how much Mr Soros is betting on this happening. His speech writers will be earning every penny next week trying to gloss over all his problems. (Bet he smiles a lot next week as well; but probably not as much as he did when listening to Mr Hannah`s speech of the year).

    Look for disclosure next week to coincide with the G20 by the govt of a major news story they want to bury - probably the Damien Green affair.

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    47 Briangare

    Todays Times Headline;

    "George Soros: Britain may have to seek IMF rescue"

    The actual Story

    "Asked about the chances of Britain having to seek help from the International Monetary Fund, he said that if the banking system continued to collapse, it was ?a possibility?. At this stage, he added, it was ?not a likelihood?. "

    When you add the context..........

  • Comment number 50.

    #7 Dean

    From what you've posted before, I suspect that the Falklands war happened before you were born. Hopefully we've all moved on from those times - Argentina is now a democracy whose citizens no longer routinely fear "disappearances".

    The rights and wrongs of the sinking of the Belgrano were hotly debated after the event. Whether a battleship (and survivor of Pearl Harbour) still constituted a legitimate target outside the "exclusion zone" belongs to questions of rules of engagement in wartime; what remains as a tragedy is that around 400 lives were lost and the majority of those were conscripts who had effectively no choice but to fight for Argentina.

    So we won? It's not like a football match - there can be no pride in such appalling loss of life.

    While the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands must be the ones to determine the future of the islands, opening of transport links must be in their best interests of trade and surely it is humanitarian to allow the Argentines to visit their war dead - but it will take a statesman to negotiate a way forward and we currently possess no-one of sufficient calibre in Downing Street or the Foreign and Commenwealth Office.

    Do I trust the former Chancellor not to say one thing in public whilst concluding the opposite deals in secret? Not at bit. This is a man who routinely buried his iniquitous stealth taxes in voluminous budget reports, while making no mention in his Commons speeches. We should treat anything he says with caution.

  • Comment number 51.

    Sagamix 44

    Hey now just because I am a woman.

  • Comment number 52.

    For 13# Brotn,
    I think you need to read things again and get your brin in gear for the President of Argentina is a Woman so gordon will be meeting HER at the G20 in London.
    as a veteran I say No Surrender as far as the Falklands Go

  • Comment number 53.

    #41 fairlyopenmind

    It is rather silly. The UN Convention on Human Rights enshrines self-determination, and the 3,000 Falklanders can declare independence, and be recognised as an independent nation. It would then replace Nauru as the smallest independent state (excluding the Vatican).

    However, I don't think that the Falklanders have the right to tell anyone else that they have to take responsibility for them. If they decided they were Americans, would the USA have to bail them out?

    If we are talking about the people, then they occupy only 15 of the 700 islands in the archipelago. Interesting question if they can claim the other 685, just because of contiguity?

  • Comment number 54.

    #53 oldnat
    "If we are talking about the people, then they occupy only 15 of the 700 islands in the archipelago. Interesting question if they can claim the other 685, just because of contiguity?"

    An interesting point which will probably remain as unresolved as the Hispano-Moroccan spat over Parsley Island just across the water from Gibraltar. It certainly made crossing the Land borders from Ceuta to Morocco and Melilla from Morocco rather a slow process in the summer of 2002, even with Swiss number plates and a UN laissez-passer.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

  • Comment number 55.

    Am i being too cynical, or is this a useful topic for Labour to get onto the agenda to get us all feeling British and patriotic, something Brown keeps returning to?

    This spoof story I found sums it all up I think:

  • Comment number 56.

    While it's nice to see Brown standing up for British sovereignty, he should realise that he can't go and fight and win a new Falklands War to win the next election. Considering that the two carriers that we sent down there, Hermes and Invincible, have been sold and mothballed respectively and they've not been replaced the RN would find it hard to secure air superiority this time around. So if he wants a war to win an election with, he needs to pick a softer target!

  • Comment number 57.

    #53 oldnat
    PS to my #54

    I like Spain and the Spanish a lot, but I have to admit they're not always 100% consistent in their attitudes. You might take a look at Spanish accuse Gibraltar of building on 'stolen land' from the Torygraph this January.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

  • Comment number 58.

    Talking of George Soros1

    Did you know that George Soros would not be a multi-billionaire if it were not for the international language Esperanto?

    Born in Hungary in 1930 as Gyorgy Schwartz, the family changed its name in 1936 to Soros, which in Esperanto means "to soar."

    The Soros name-change was an effort to protect the Jewish family from the rise of fascist rulers and the whole family spoke Esperanto at home.

    As a native Esperanto speaker, (someone who has spoken Esperanto from birth), George Soros defected to the West in 1946, while attending an Esperanto youth meeting in Switzerland.

    Esperanto enabled Soros both to defect, and to become the 28th most wealthy man in the World, according to the Forbes rich list.

  • Comment number 59.

    What I want to say is that before the G20, argubaly the most important meeting for 21 century. Gordon Brown is travel to south america that not really matter with G20 meetings. Where is UK now in the new global order? EU dont want UK, US dont want UK. China dont want UK. UK starts to become same country as south american or african countries in global politic. What a sad day!

  • Comment number 60.

    Simple answer.

    We keep the Falklands and we give Northern Ireland to Argentina.

    We keep the Falklands.

    The Unionists avoid being part of Ireland.

    The Nationalists get independence from Westminister.

    The Argentinians pride is satified.

    Everybody wins!

  • Comment number 61.

    having searched both blog & comments, cannot find a single mention of Antartica. strange, I thought British interest in Falklands was all about having a share of mineral & oil wealth of the Antartic -- no Falklands, no British claim!

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm surprised.
    I'd have expected Golem Brown to hand over the Falkland Islands in return for Argentina support him in his quest for "global sol-ewe-tions to global problems".

  • Comment number 63.

    #62 subedeithemomgol

    On a quick check, I've found at least 4 pronunciations of the word "solution" in the various forms of the English language. Can you give the phonetic pronunciation of your particular variant, so that the rest of the English speaking world can all copy it and "get it right".

  • Comment number 64.

    Considering what this Labour government has done to the Royal Navy I am surprised the Argentinians are not already camped in Port Stanley.

    Sea Breezes, a magazine which I enjoy reading, even ventured this 'with only two shipyards capable of building warships this Government as done more to destroy the Royal Navy than any other in the Post War period' that from a magazine that focuses on ships and is for enthusiasts. What a commentary.

  • Comment number 65.

    Have we discovered oil on the place or something of interesting or his he going to do a Thatcher anything to save him from the voters or is he going to give them the jobs they need by making Gito prisons for the many criminals we now have in the Govenement and its mates fill one prison up and I am all for water boarding as well I bet it works on these people long before they get wet were is the money should be the mantra, failing that there is nothing to talk about like the miners the family of the Belgrano will never forgive us and rightly so in my book sorry to all the ones that was there, but killing is killing.

  • Comment number 66.

    The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 15) states that everyone has the right to a nationality and that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of a nationality or denied the right to change nationality.

    If we turned around to the Falklanders, or the Gibraltarians, or any of the other peoples outside, or indeed inside, of the Kingdom itself who come under British administration, and say 'We do not care about what you want for yourselves or your children or your homes. For conveniences sake, you are to be turned over to another state, with which you have nothing in common, we will not respect your wishes', then we are diminished as human beings, and are morally and ethically in the wrong.

    We can sometimes forget that there are people in this world who still look to Britain as the Homeland, the protector, and who can look at these Islands with pride. If we turn our backs on them, then we do not deserve the right to political freedom either.


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