The open letter sent by Argentine president Cristina Fernandez to Prime Minister David Cameron demanding the return of the Falkland Islands, which allegedly were “forcibly stripped” from Buenos Aires in 1833 will be distributed as a document among members of the UN General Assembly, on request from the Argentine ambassador Maria Perceval.
The former Senator and recently named to replace Jorge Argüello as ambassador before the UN, formally asked that the letter be incorporated to Program 45 on the so called Falklands/Malvinas question. Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon gave the green light.
Last 3 January, Cristina Fernandez addressed a 212-word letter to PM David Cameron, which was later published as an ad in several British newspapers, timed to mark the anniversary of when on 3 January 1833 Britain took control of the Falklands.
The letter is also in anticipation of the coming referendum that the Falkland Islands will be holding next March, with international observers, to decide on their status and future, basically is they wish to remain British and which has infuriated the administration of President Cristina Fernandez.
The letter stated that “180 years ago on this same date, January 3rd, in a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000 km away from London”. It adds that “the Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule and since then Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity”.
However the letter sparked immediate reactions from the Falkland Islands elected government, PM Cameron and the Foreign Office.
Dr Barry Elsby, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, pointed out that “we are not a colony – our relationship with the United Kingdom is by choice”, adding that “unlike the Government of Argentina, the UK respects the right of our people to determine our own affairs, a right that is enshrined in the UN Charter and which is which is ignored by Argentina”.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office strenuously denied the Argentine arguments saying that “the people of the Falklands are British and have chosen to be so. They remain free to choose their own futures, both politically and economically, and have a right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter.
“This is a fundamental human right for all peoples. There are three parties to this debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend. The Islanders can’t just be written out of history.
“As such, there can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the Islanders so wish.”
PM Cameron said the UK would “respect and defend” the result of the plebiscite and in later statements underlined that Britain was prepared de defend the Falklands and the March referendum results, and had the necessary means to do so.
The Falkland Islands government also released at the time the booklet “Our Islands, Our History”, a succinct summary of key aspects of the Falkland Islands history, which exposed much of the tergiversation and manipulation of historic facts with which Argentina pretends to support its claim over the Islands.
“Our Islands, Our History” was published by MercoPress and is also available as a free digital download on the Falkland Islands Government website. Hard copies will be available in late January.