In a statement entitled “Why we still want to work with Argentina”, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the South Atlantic conflict, Foreign Secretary William Hague, stressed UK’s eagerness to work with Argentina on several aspects surrounding the Falkland Islands issue.
Hague however reiterated the country’s position to refrain from negotiating the sovereignty of the South Atlantic archipelago.
“While the British government will not negotiate over the sovereignty of the Islands unless and until the people who live there wish it, there is much that all three of us – Falklands, UK and Argentina – can nevertheless discuss together,” the British Minister stated.
“Fisheries, hydrocarbons, communications, trade and confidence-building measures have all been the subject of agreements in the past – albeit agreements that Argentina has subsequently resiled from,” he explained.
Hague also commemorated the fallen from both sides and called for a deep reflection as the conflict hits three decades.
“Today’s anniversary of the start of that conflict marks a day for commemoration and reflection, especially for those families – on both sides – whose loved ones were lost to its battles, including many Argentine soldiers who also rest in peace on the Islands.”
Hague also defended the Islanders right of self determination by saying that “as long as the people of the Falklands continue to express that view, the UK will defend and support their right to do so.”
The official regretted what the UK has been calling an economic embargo to the islands, but highlighted the Islanders have prospered despite of the difficulties.
“In the face of a sustained Argentine effort to prevent them from doing so, the islanders have developed a thriving local economy, with a responsibly managed fishery, growing tourism based on their unique natural environment, and the beginnings of a commercial hydrocarbons industry,” he said.
Hague also remembered the commercial importance of the continent for the UK and Malvinas islanders.
“The increased potential of the partnerships between Britain and Latin American countries is beginning to show since we’ve increased our diplomatic presence, with more staff and new posts, and dramatically increased the number of ministerial visits to the region since 2010.”
The ministry regretted however Argentine government recent comments and change of policies towards the UK and Islanders.
“In place of the dialogue and engagement we saw in the 1990s, Argentina has in recent years taken a range of measures to try to coerce the Islands: from attempts to intimidate businesses involved in the hydrocarbons industry, to the harassment of Falkland fishing vessels by the Argentine coastguard; from threats to cut the one air link between the Islands and South America, to actually closing its ports to cruise ships that have visited the Falklands.”
“Such efforts to intensify a disagreement – which neither we nor the people of the Islands have ever sought to provoke – are out of step with international collaboration in the modern world,” Hague protested.
The official concluded by saying although “Britain will maintain an absolute commitment to preserve the right of the Falkland islanders” the British are looking forward to maintain an agenda with Argentina.
“It is relevant that many countries that have bilateral disagreements still collaborate on areas where there are mutual benefits such as economic and trade co-operation. That is our wish with Argentina”.