Argentine Foreign minister Hector Timerman begins Monday a busy ‘Malvinas’ week in London with meetings scheduled in Parliament and later at the embassy with representatives from 18 different European groups that support UK/Argentina dialogue on the Falklands’ sovereignty
The official agenda announced Sunday in Buenos Aires however does not mention any meeting of Timerman with Foreign Secretary William Hague following last week’ ongoing controversy over Argentina’s rejection to any participation of the Falklands elected representatives in any talks between the two ministers in which the issue was raised.
The official agenda thus denied Timerman’s statements in an interview published on Sunday in the government funded newspaper Pagina 12 in which he does ‘not discard the possibility’ of a meeting with Hague as long as “no conditions or ultimatums” are involved regarding the ‘bilateral dialogue’ on the Malvinas question.
Last Friday and Saturday the Foreign Office insisted Argentina was informed well in advance of the invitation to the Falklands’ representatives but Timerman denies any such anticipation and thus his last minute desistance from holding a meeting with Hague if it was not ‘bilateral’.
Timerman busy round begins Tuesday Feb 5 at Parliament building with a meeting of the UK/Argentine parliamentarian multiparty group, which includes among other issues a conference on the Malvinas history, Argentina’s longstanding rights to the Islands and the non-applicability of the right to self determination for the people of the Falklands, points out the official agenda.
According to Malvinas’ history calendar, Argentina this year remembers the 180th. Anniversary of the ‘British usurpation’ of the Islands, when allegedly Argentine settlers were forcibly removed marking the beginning of UK occupation that lasts until now with the sole exception of the 74 days in 1982 when Argentine forces invaded the Falklands.
The delegation of Timerman includes the presidents of the Senate and Lower House Foreign affairs committees, Senator Daniel Filmus plus Deputy Guillermo Carmona and Argentine petitioners before the UN C24 Decolonization committee, Alejandro Betts and Marcelo Vernet.
The following day, Wednesday at the official residence of the Argentine embassy, Ambassador Alicia Castro will host the 18 European groups which support dialogue on the Falklands’ sovereignty and is made up of “politicians, academics, writers and journalists from “Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, UK, Romania and Sweden”.
These personalities support and promote dialogue between Argentina and the UK “to resolve in a peaceful and definitive way the Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty dispute, following on UN resolutions and reiterated calls from the international community”.
Timerman is also scheduled to visit in London the seat of the International Maritime Organization where he is scheduled to hold a meeting with Koji Sekimizu, the head of IMO.
Last week in a strong letter addressed to Foreign Secretary Hague, Timerman regretted he was denied a bilateral meeting unless it was “supervised by the Malvinas settlers” and underlined that while Argentina keeps to international law the UK insists with ‘colonial rule’.
In later statements Timerman added that “this was the first time” the Foreign Office “has changed its position” regarding the Malvinas question and insists that the UK ‘condition’ surfaced in a letter that took 35 days to reply an original request for a bilateral meeting, dispatched by the Argentine embassy.
According to Timerman the ‘bilateral meeting to talk about bilateral issues” taking advantage of his trip to London in February, was requested on 5 December but “they replied on 10 January, 35 days later”.
The Argentine minister recalled that the UN in 1975 said the Malvinas question “is a bilateral issue that must be resolved by the sovereign governments of Argentina and the UK”.
Finally ‘it is quite strange that the UK should impose conditions on dialogue: who should sit at the table, who has to talk, who doesn’t have to talk. I never came across something like this. I have invited Hague to visit Argentina, where he can see with his own eyes he can meet with me, with whom ever he wishes, that we are a true democracy and I don’t need to be supervised”.