Argentina’ Foreign Affairs minister Hector Timerman and his Chilean peer Alfredo Moreno will lead next Monday in the Vatican homage to John Paul II for his 1978 successful mediation in preventing a full fledged armed conflict between the two neighbouring countries.
The tribute is in the framework of John Paul II beatification and delegations from both countries will recall the Pope’s mediation in the Argentine-Chilean conflict over the Beagle channel and adjoining islands in the extreme south of the continent, points out a release from Buenos Aires.
The ceremony is scheduled to take place at Casina Pio IV, seat of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, where three decades ago most of the bilateral negotiations took place and which concluded with the Peace and Friendship Treaty both countries signed in the Vatican November 1984 and ratified the following May 2.
Back in 1978 when Argentina and Chile were under military rule (a military Junta headed by Jorge Videla, and Augusto Pinochet), John Paul II impeded the launching of an imminent war over the possession of the Picton, Lenox and New islands, along the Beagle Channel, and which following the mediation were confirmed as Chilean territory.
In November 2009 Argentine president Cristina Fernandez and Chile’s leader Michelle Bachelet during a ceremony in southern Patagonia, where the tanks were supposed to roll across the border, inaugurated a commemorative plaque on the 25th anniversary of the peace and friendship treaty.
Timerman and Jose Pampuro, president of the Argentine Senate will be attending Sunday in the Vatican John Paul’s beatification ceremonies.