The Special Committee on Decolonization of the United Nations adopted a draft resolution, presented by Chile, calling on Britain and Argentina to resume negotiations to find a peaceful resolution to the sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. The resolution presented Wednesday morning in New York was sponsored by Chile, Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela, and specifically supported by Mercosur.
According to the draft resolution, "the UN's Special Committee would regret that, in spite of the widespread international support for a negotiation between the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom that includes all aspects of the future of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, implementation of the General Assembly resolutions on this issue, have not yet started".
The G 24 also requests the two governments to consolidate the current process of dialogue and cooperation through the resumption of negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute as soon as possible.
Four petitioners addressed the Committee, two from Argentina, and two from the Falklands. Alejandro Jacobo Betts who said he regretted Britain's reluctance to consider negotiations on the sovereignty question with Argentina, despite the UN resolutions and the G 24 recommendations. Mr. Betts stated that the principle of territorial integrity was the only acceptable basis of a solution for the dispute, adding that the current resolution would "eliminate the last bulwark of colonialism from the region". James Douglas Lewis following the line of Mr. Betts called on Britain for the resumption of dialogue with Argentina to solve the controversy. Mr. Lewis underlined that Argentina repeatedly has offered safeguards to the Islanders and their way of life, taking into account their interests, which have been incorporated to the Argentine Constitution.
Elected Councillor Norma Edwards denied the Falklands were in a colonial situation stressing the close relationship with the United Kingdom as British citizens of a British Overseas Territory, and the fact that the Islands managed their own internal affairs. Foreign Affairs are in consultation with Britain and Defence relies entirely in London. Mrs. Edwards described how much the Islands have advanced becoming a vibrant, dynamic community, confident in its future, with the younger educated generations returning to work in their homeland, instead of leaving as in the sixties and seventies, forced under the constant pressure from Argentina, pressure that culminated in the 1982 invasion. Since the war the people of the Islands decide their own future, have rewritten the Constitution putting an end to absentee landlords and vesting more autonomy in the local Falklands government. She also added that history does not justify Argentina's persistence in its claim to sovereignty over the Falklands.
The Falklands Councillor finished saying Argentina should recognise the right of the Islanders to live under the government of their own choosing, clearly indicated by the right to self determination.
Phillip Miller, Legislative Councillor of the Falklands argued that Islanders do not trust Argentina because of its unjustified sovereignty claim, and said the only way forward, to cooperation and progress, was for the G 24 to acknowledge the right to self determination of the Islands people. Miller indicated the Falklands should be allowed to continue developing peacefully, democratically and economically for the benefit of its own people and neighbors, without threat from outside dominance, political or commercial.
Argentine Foreign Secretary Carlos Ruckauff was also present in the meeting insisting in the historical territorial integrity of Argentina, that includes the Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands and surrounding maritime areas, and Argentina's positive attitude towards the interests, way of life, welfare and full exercise of individual rights of the inhabitants of the Malvinas islands.
Mr. Ruckauff remarked that the G 24 had called on both governments, Argentina and Britain, to strengthen the current process of dialogue and cooperation by resuming bilateral negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute as soon as possible. He said he hoped Britain would reconsider its decision and resume bilateral negotiations in accordance with the provisions in successive resolutions of the United Nations.
Further on, all Mercosur representatives made statements openly supporting Argentina's sovereignty claim over the Falklands and requested a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the dispute. Brazil was responsible for the institutional statement from Mercosur.
G 24 delegates also lined up behind Argentina and the draft resolution, with the exception of Sierra Leone that requested Islanders be allowed to exercise their right to self determination. Other former British colonies, including Papua New Guinea, said Islanders must be consulted about their future or their interests taking into consideration, firstly.
Deliberations are scheduled to continue next Monday June 24th., when the final resolution is to be passed.