C24 chair says Falklands issue is over sovereignty, not exactly decolonization
The UN Special Committee on Decolonisation launched on Monday a new round of sessions with much attention focused on the Falklands/Malvinas dispute since Argentine president Cristina Fernandez next Thursday will become the first head of state to address the C24.
“It’s historic, it’s the first time the committee will be receiving a head of state and we are honoured it will be President Cristina Fernandez” said the Ecuadorian ambassador Diego Morejon-Pazmiño who chairs the special committee.
Cristina Fernandez is scheduled to address the C24 next Thursday claiming Argentine sovereignty over the Falklands, thus becoming the first head of state to do so, since normally C24 sessions are addressed by the ambassadors before the UN, visiting diplomats and at the most a Foreign minister.
The day is full of significance since on 14 June 1982 ended the war triggered by the Argentine military invasion of the Falklands which were recovered 74 days later by a British Task Force leaving 255 British and 649 Argentine combatants dead and three Falkland Islanders killed by accidental bombing.
“Both countries as requested by over 40 UN resolutions should sit to discuss the issue which is not exactly over decolonization, but rather over sovereignty” said Morejon-Pazmiño who emphasized that the main purpose of the committee is “for both sides to negotiate in a most peaceful way”.
The Ecuadorian ambassador regretted the “lack of will” from the UK to negotiate, (there will be no British special representative at the session), but there will be members from the Falkland Islands elected Legislative Assembly, and a delegation of young Islanders born after the conflict, who argue “there is not much debate, since the Falklands are British”.
The British authorities describe the visit of the Argentine president as “misfortunate” and “strange” according to UN sources since it is an attempt from Argentina “to internationalize” the issue and increase the rhetoric which has dominated Argentina/UK relations for the last 18 months.
Speaking from Stanley, Foreign Office minister, Jeremy Browne who is currently in the Falklands as part of the 30-year celebrations accused Buenos Aires of deliberately trying to undermine the economic growth of the islands.
He said: Sometimes there is a narrative from Argentina – and the decolonization committee is prompted by that narrative – that here is Britain, this big, global power, and poor Argentina, that is going to the decolonization committee at the UN to try and have their voice heard.
Well, that is the Argentine narrative. Let me put forward what I think is a much more accurate, contemporary narrative, which is that there is a G20 country, at the top table of world affairs, one would imagine keen to be responsible on the world stage, with a population of about 40 million people, seeking to put an economic blockade in place – in tangible terms the ambition of that is to impoverish an isolated community with about 3,000 people.”
The C24 will also focus on another British Overseas Territory but on Friday 15, Gibraltar to discuss the three centuries dispute. Gibraltar will be represented by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo while Spain will appeal to its permanent staff before the UN in New York.