Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne is scheduled to attend the Falkland Islands Liberation ceremony on June 14 in Stanley to mark the 30th anniversary of the recovery of the Islands from invading Argentine forces.
Browne, the highest ranking officer to visit the Falklands since PM David Cameron’s government took office said “his visit is intended to coincide with the end of the South Atlantic conflict: I will be going to the Falklands for the 30th anniversary”.
Another top official to visit the Falklands for the anniversary ceremony is Gibraltar government minister Joe Bossano. As the Falklands which are claimed by Argentina, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory disputed with Spain.
A report from the Gibraltar Chronicle says Mr Bossano will attend the Liberation Day ceremony (which signals the end of the 74-days South Atlantic conflict), shortly after he attends the UN decolonization seminar scheduled to take place in Quito, Ecuador.
“I hope the Argentines see the ceremony as what it is: that is an acknowledgement of the valour and sacrifice of the British forces and of the Islanders in the liberation of the Falkland Islands thirty years ago, and also a wider commemoration to the sacrifice that the conflict meant for so many families, British, Argentine and Islanders”, said Minister Browne.
When the Liberation Day commemoration in the Falklands two events will make the anniversary even more significant: by then a hunter-killer nuclear powered submarine HMS Talent is expected to be submerged in nearby waters, as well as Type 45 HMS Dauntless, one of the Royal Navy’s most modern surface ships on South Atlantic patrol; but even more relevant the Argentine president Cristina Fernandez is expected to head the delegation before the annual UN Decolonization Committee or C24 which will discuss the Falklands/Malvinas case.
It will be the first time an Argentine president takes such a step. Cristina Fernandez made the announcement of her trip to New York for the C24 debate to present and defend Argentine’s claim over the ‘Malvinas Islands’ last March first when her annual message to the national Assembly.
The Argentine president has been very aggressive in her policy to claim the Falklands’ sovereignty with increasing pressure which has turned out into a virtual sea and air blockade of the Islands. Cooperation accords with the Falklands on fisheries and oil dating back to the nineties have been unilaterally dumped by Argentina; likewise charter flights remain banned and Cristina Fernandez has convinced other countries of South America to bar access to Falklands’ flagged vessels in the region’s ports plus sending intimidating letters to international companies and their subsidiaries trying to develop an oil industry for the Islands.