Friday, June 17, 2005

Falklands tell Buenos Aires to follow Madrid lead

C24 urges UK/Argentina to resume talks

The UN Special Committee of 24 on Deconolization (C24) declaring that it is seeking to end the “special and particular colonial situation” in the question of the Falkland Islands has requested the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the long-standing sovereignty dispute.

And the Falklands spokesman has urged Argentina to follow Spain’s lead over Gibraltar and change its approach to the Falklands issue.

Representing the Falkland Islands Government, John Birmingham said it was difficult to put across a new angle on the issue of sovereignty, as the position was unchanged – namely, the continued Argentine insistence that they owned the Falkland Islands.

The C24 was told that far from gaining support for their point of view, the Argentine Government’s attitude was making countries and people look at the present government as a “bullying administration” that did not understand the realities of the twenty-first century, he said. Falkland Islanders were, he said, pleased for their friends the Gibraltarians. The Spanish Government’s position had changed. If Spain, a modern democracy, could open up and accept that the Gibraltarians had rights, then was it not time for Argentina to do the same? he asked.

Some of Argentina’s neighbours had been reported as saying that patience was needed when dealing with the present Argentine Government. Falkland Islanders had a lot of patience and, as time went by, he was confident that the Committee would begin to see that times had changed and that the remaining Territories had rights under the United Nations Charter, the most fundamental right being the right to self-determination.

When the new Argentine Government took office two years ago, the elected councillors of the Falkland Islands had hoped for further cooperation in areas of mutual interest and concern in the south-west Atlantic. That had not happened, however. The Argentine Administration had gone out of its way to make life difficult for the Falkland Islands.

The UN diplomatically refers to the issue as Falklands/Malvinas. Adopting a consensus text without a vote, the Special Committee took note of the views expressed by Argentina’s President to the General Assembly’s fifty-ninth session, in which he, among other things, urged the United Kingdom to resume negotiations.

Further, the Committee expressed regret that, in spite of widespread international support for negotiations, the implementation of General Assembly resolutions on the question has not yet started.

According to the official UN report Stephen Luxton, Legislative Councillor of the Falklands Islands Government, stressed the need to respect the right to self-determination, adding that the people of the Falkland Islands must be allowed to choose their own future without any external influence. Argentina’s total disregard for the view of the people of the Falkland Islands directly challenged the purpose of the Committee, which was to eradicate such situations where nations sought to impose authoritarian colonial rule. It was no use to claim that the people of the Falklands were not permitted self-determination because they were not a distinct people. Falkland Islanders had nothing in common with Argentina — culturally, linguistically, historically or politically. Many could trace their ancestry back many generations and, unlike Argentina, the Falkland Islands never had an indigenous population. In that regard, Falkland Islanders had more right to live on the islands than Argentine citizens had to live in Argentina.

Argentina’s Government was confusing territorial integrity with geographical proximity, he added. Self-determination was not about the sort of authoritarian colonial dominance and ownership that Argentina wished to exert over his country.

The twenty-first century, led by the United Nations, should not tolerate that. While the Argentine Government of today was democratic, the essence of its position with regard to his country had not changed significantly from the military dictatorship of 1982, except for that fact that overt military aggression did not seem to be on the agenda.

If the current hostility of the Argentine Government towards the Falkland Islands served any purpose at all, it was to bring into sharp focus Argentina’s real intentions.

Rafael Bielsa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, said the special nature of the ‘Malvinas’ Islands question derived from the fact that the United Kingdom had occupied the Islands by force in 1833, ousted the Argentine population and authorities on the Islands and replaced them with settlers of British origin. Then, as now, Argentina had not consented to the acts of force that gave rise to the ‘Malvinas’ question. The specificity of the ‘Malvinas’ question was legally and politically enshrined in resolution 2065 (XX) adopted 40 years ago. That resolution defined the question as a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, which must be resolved through negotiations between both States taking into account the provisions of the United Nations Charter and resolution 1514 (XV).

The principle of self-determination, he continued, was only applicable to subjugated or dominated peoples and not to the descendants of a population transferred by the occupying Power. The international community had repeatedly urged the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations on sovereignty without delay. While his Government had repeated its willingness to negotiate, the United Kingdom had persisted in its negative attitude of rejection. The United Kingdom’s refusal to resume bilateral negotiations on sovereignty delayed and hindered the decolonisation process to which the Committee was devoted.

Introducing the draft, Chile’s representative said the presence of so many Latin American representatives in the meeting indicated the interest that the countries of the region had in seeing a lasting solution to the question of the ‘Malvinas’.

Chile, like the other Latin American countries, supported Argentina’s rights in the sovereignty dispute on the question of the ‘Malvinas’. The only viable way forward was through bilateral negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The maintenance of colonial situations in the early twenty-first century was an inexplicable anachronism that must be brought to an end, he added.

Supporting the consolidation of the territorial integrity of his continent, Venezuela’s representative reaffirmed his support for Argentina’s legitimate rights in the context of the sovereignty dispute. He also rejected the recent inclusion of the ‘Malvinas’ Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands in the text of the constitutional Treaty of the European Union adopted in 2004, which was nothing more than a revindication of Europe’s colonial past. That past had left bloody tracks in Asia, Africa and Latin America and, in turn, was the source of Europe’s current basis of wealth.

Related Articles:

17 June 2005 - Gibraltar's self-determination upheld at CPA conference

United Nations Special Committee of 24 on Deconolisation (C24)

Full text of the Chief Minister’s address at the United Nations Committee of 24

08 June 2005 - We do not agree nothing can be changed, Bossano tells CM

08 June 2005 - ‘Tripartite process a positive step after Brussels failure'

08 June 2005 - C24 declares intention to look at its duties with fresh eyes

08 June 2005 - Gibraltar’s arguments 'compelling' – C-24 Chairman

08 June 2005 - Spain gestures friendship but clings to traditional stance

06 June 2005 - America expected to support Gib's self-determination

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