President Eduardo Duhalde will tell thousands of South Atlantic War veterans gathering in the southern city of Ushuaia on April 2 that Argentina is eternally grateful to them for the sacrifices they made for their country twenty years ago and emphasise that it is a time for commemoration and reconciliation.
According to press reports Duhalde is also scheduled to present the two to three thousand former Argentine servicemen expected to attend the ceremony with Medals of Honour marking the twentieth anniversary of the armed conflict with Britain over the disputed Malvinas Islands.
In his keynote speech he is expected on the one hand to reaffirm Argentina's "legitimate" claim to the sovereignty of the disputed islands as recognised by the United Nations, but on the other not to say anything which might be construed as being unnecessarily provocative by either the British government or the international community at large.
During the ceremony Duhalde is also expected to make a series of announcements involving veterans rights but will tone down his speech on the thorny subject of the sovereignty of the disputed South Atlantic islands, returning to the sort of "moderate" position held on this subject by his predecessor in the late 1990's, former Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella.
Duhalde, a veteran Peronist leader who took office in the midst of the turmoil which followed the collapse of the government of Fernando De la Rua earlier this year, is likely to uphold Argentina's claim to the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands, but emphasising that the conflict of sovereignty can only be resolved by peaceful means as stated in the reformed Argentine constitution.
Although Duhalde's Foreign Minister, Carlos Ruckauf, has in the past on occasions held extremely strong views on the Malvinas issue, strongly criticising the visit of Prince Charles to Argentina in 1999 for example, since taking earlier in the year he has been carrying out an extremely low keyed Malvinas policy reverting to the more pragmatic policies of the Di Tella era than the strongly anti Falkland Islander policies of his immediate predecessor, the Radical Party's Adalberto Rodriguez Giavarini.
As a demonstration of this return to a moderate sort of Malvinas policy of "no surprises" reached with the British government shortly after taking office the Duhalde government authorised the entry of HMS Endurance into the port of Buenos Aires marking a U turn on the policy of their predecessors who had banned the visit by the Royal Na