Tension over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands: Argentina challenges the United Kingdom

(To Antonino Lombardi)

On the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers meeting in New Delhi these days, Argentine foreign minister Santiago Cafiero formally informed his British counterpart, James Cleverly, that Argentina is putting an end to the "Foradori-Duncan pact" of 2016.

In that pact the two sides agreed not to agree on sovereignty but to cooperate on issues such as the exploitation of energy resources, navigation, fishing and on the identification of the remains of Argentine soldiers who died in the 1982 war.

Cafiero tweeted that he has proposed a number of points that should be part of the negotiation process in accordance with UN resolution 2065 "thus respecting the mandate of the General Assembly and the United Nations Committee on Decolonization".

Cleverly's response was peremptory, which he always stated on the same social network “The Falkland Islands are British. The islanders have the right to decide their own future: they have chosen to remain a self-governing British Overseas Territory.", obviously referring to the 2013 vote when 99,8% of the inhabitants expressed themselves in this sense. David Rutley, British minister for the Americas, just while he was visiting Argentina commented on the news as “a disappointing decision”.

The UK-Argentina dispute has always been alive. We recall that last September, at the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Argentine president Alberto Fernandez declared: "I wish to reaffirm Argentina's legitimate and imprescriptible sovereign rights over the Malvinas, South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands and adjacent maritime spaces. They are Argentine national territory and have been illegally occupied by the United Kingdom for almost 190 years". Complaining that the United Kingdom does not want to listen to the renegotiation offers and has "aggravated the dispute by calling for the illegal exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources in the area"1.

On December 16, 1965, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 2065 (XX), in which it recognized the existence of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, inviting the two countries to negotiate to find a peaceful solution and settlement of the dispute, taking into account the interests of the islanders. To this end, the resolution invited the two sides to negotiate. From here began the negotiation process which, according to the Argentines, was hampered by the reluctance of Great Britain. In particular, the exploration and exploitation of renewable and non-renewable resources in the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas are incompatible with United Nations General Assembly resolution 31/49.

Argentina claims that when it began its process of independence, the Kingdom of Spain exercised full sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands and appointed 32 governors until 1810. Argentina inherited the titles of Spain by succession of states according to the principle uti possidetis juris of 1810. Since then it considers itself the legitimate heir of the continental, insular and maritime territories that had belonged to Spain and has exercised its sovereignty over these archipelagos and maritime areas through various acts of government. On January 3, 1833, this effective exercise of sovereignty was interrupted when the United Kingdom occupied the islands, expelling Argentina and destroying the country's territorial integrity.

The 1982 war (photo) did not alter the nature of the dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, nor did it end the sovereignty dispute, which remained unresolved, as recognized by the General Assembly in November 1982 when, a few months after the end of the conflict, adopted Resolution 37/9.

The 1982 conflict was led by the then Argentine dictator Leopoldo Galtieri, lasted 74 days and caused the death of 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British and three civilians. Argentina's current desire to recover Las Malvinas may seem legitimate and as President Kirchner stated, the recovery of Las Malvinas is a "fight against colonization".

London has clearly ignored the diplomatic efforts made by Buenos Aires and has declared that it will not negotiate on sovereignty unless the inhabitants of the islands wish to do so and has also failed to recognize United Nations resolution 1514 - the Declaration on the Independence of Countries and colonial peoples – establishing that any attempt to disrupt the national unity and territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the principles and purposes of the United Nations.

1 iari.site