UK at OAS assembly in Bolivia ratifies the Falklands’ people self determination
The UK ratified on Tuesday the Falkland Islands people’s self determination following a resolution from the OAS general assembly taking place in Bolivia calling on the two sides (Argentina and UK) to resume dialogue on the sovereignty of the Islands which are claimed by Argentina.
Fiona Clouder from the Foreign Office Desk for the Americas said during the last session of the Organization of American States assembly that the Falklands are a self-governing territory, its leaders are democratically elected and they have their own Constitution which outlines the relation with the UK by law.
“The future of the Islands is not in the hands of the UK or Argentina, nor any other country represented here at the assembly. It is in the hands of the people of the Falklands”, added Ms Clouder who insisted that the UK “will not talk about sovereignty unless the people of the Falklands so decides”.
“If they wish to change this, we will help them reach that change. Currently the people of the Falklands have made it clear that they prefer to keep the relation they have with the UK”, added the FCO officer.
As to the Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman’s petition to meet in Cochabamba, where the general assembly is taking place, to address the issue, Ms Clouder said it would be “an honour” for her to meet with the Argentine delegation but she must first ask for clearance from the UK and the Falklands governments.
The OAS distributed a photo where the Argentine minister and the UK OAS observer are shaking hands.
The act of shaking hands was described by the OAS as “historic” since it took place on the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war, and claims it is the first time the representatives from both countries adopt such an attitude after each country delivered its position on the dispute.
A few hours earlier Timerman claimed before the OAS General Assembly that the UK refuses to dialogue on the Falklands/Malvinas issue, ignoring 39 resolutions from the United Nations calling for resumption of talks.
Following Ms Clouder’s statement, Timerman underlined as a ‘great achievement’ for OAS that a representative from the Foreign Office was present at the assembly as an observer, but insisted on an official meeting, right away, to resume negotiations on the Falklands/Malvinas dispute.
The document approved by the OAS general assembly “reaffirms the need” for Argentina and the UK to resume negotiations “with the purpose of finding a peaceful solution to this prolonged controversy”.
Likewise the OAS expresses satisfaction at the Argentine government’s willingness to continue exploring all possible ways to peacefully resolve the controversy and announces the issue will continue to be examined in the coming sessions of the Assembly “until a definitive solution is reached”.