Uruguayan President Jose Mujica addressing his peers at the Mercosur summit in Montevideo ratified the country’s position barring Falklands’ flagged vessels from Uruguayan ports in active support of Argentina’s sovereignty claim over South Atlantic Islands, which has led to a serious diplomatic controversy with the UK.
However Mujica also stated that the Uruguayan government will never share the idea of a maritime of economic blockade of the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands because this represents a violation of human rights and contrary to a peaceful environment for sovereignty negotiation between Argentina and the UK, “the only possible path”.
“We hold nothing against the UK, but we have a lot in favour of Argentina,” he said regarding the ongoing controversy over the Malvinas flagged vessels and underlined that Uruguay’s position is consistent with what he called “continental solidarity”
“We have repeatedly supported Argentina on its Malvinas Islands claim,” he explained. “It implies that we consider it a colonial territory in our America, consequently we can’t recognize its flag”.
Mujica said that “principles and interests” cement Uruguayan foreign policy and “should not be split when measuring the real world”. Regarding principles ‘continental solidarity’ is one of the most important and Mercosur and Unasur have “repeatedly supported Argentina’s claims over the Malvinas Islands”.
There was an explicit declaration from Unasur in November 2010 regarding vessels sailing to and from the Falklands/Malvinas.
However he recalled that Uruguay allows British flagged vessels to dock and operate in Montevideo as can any other flag recognized by the United Nations that are heading or coming from the Malvinas Islands.
“But we don’t allow English Navy vessels heading for Malvinas to call in Montevideo and this is because of solidarity with Argentina”, added Mujica.
The Uruguayan government “will never share” the idea of a maritime or economic blockade of the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands because “we understand this is not helpful, is in violation of human rights and contrary to creating the necessary conditions for a peaceful negotiations, the only path to find a way out for the historic dispute”.
Last week the Foreign Office summoned the Uruguayan ambassador in London to explain the announced decision by President Mujica of barring Falklands’ flagged vessels from Uruguayan ports.
The Uruguayan Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro and the British ambassador in Montevideo Patrick Mullee are scheduled to hols a meeting on Wednesday.