Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman dismissed another attempt by Falkland Islands representatives to engage in dialogue and refused to accept a letter addressed to him and a newly published booklet on the Falklands History.
According to a release from the Falklands’ elected government the incident took place on Monday at the end of a UK/Argentina All Party Parliamentary Group conference when Falklands’ Member of the Legislative Assembly Dick Sawle approached Mr. Timerman, introduced himself and offered a letter and a copy of the newly published booklet “Our Islands, Our History” which were refused by the Argentine official.
MLA Sawle and his peer MLA Jan Cheek travelled over the weekend to London in order to take part in any discussions about the Falkland Islands during Mr Timerman’s proposed meeting with the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, which the Argentine top official finally declined.
The letter expressed MLA Sawle and Cheek’s disappointment not to be meeting with Mr Timerman, saying: “Your Government says that all it wishes to do is talk. Yet when the opportunity arises, you refuse.”
The letter, which is to be delivered to the Argentine Embassy in London also stated:
“There is no reason to be afraid of sitting down with Falkland Islanders. Previous Argentine Governments have done so. In the twenty-first century democracies like ours should be able to discuss our differences in a reasonable and constructive way. The Falkland Islands people have never sought conflict or confrontation with Argentina. On the contrary, we favour cooperation and peaceful co-existence. There are many important issues that we can both usefully address together.”
“Sadly this refusal comes as no surprise to the Falkland Islands Government, as this is not the first time our attempts at dialogue have been ignored. In June 2012, at the United Nations in New York, President Fernandez de Kirchner was offered a letter asking her to meet with Assembly Members to hear their views and to discuss matters of common interest.
Regrettably, she refused to accept it. The letter was subsequently delivered to the Argentine Government however the Falkland Islands Government has never received a response.
“Our desire for normal neighbourly relations is nothing new, but this most recent refusal of the Argentine Government to recognise our people or our rights once again demonstrates how one-sided this desire is.
Follows the full text of the letter to the Argentine Foreign Minister:
Dear Mr. Timerman,
The Hon Jan Cheek MLA and I are disappointed not to be meeting with you in London, as we had offered. Your Government says that all it wishes to do is to talk. Yet when the opportunity arises, you refuse.
There is no reason to be afraid of sitting down with Falkland Islanders. Previous Argentine Governments have done so. In the twenty-first century democracies like ours should be able to discuss our differences in a reasonable and constructive way. The Falkland Islands people have never sought conflict or confrontation with Argentina. On the contrary, we favour cooperation and peaceful co-existence. There are many important issues that we can both usefully address together.
Falkland Islanders can trace their heritage back through nine generations. Though we value our links to the United Kingdom, we are our own community, free to determine our political future.
We believe that the referendum next month will make it very clear that we do not wish to be ruled by Argentina. Please understand that no amount of harassment and intimidation by your Government against our Island community will change this fact. Indeed, the more you press us, the harder will be our resolve. It is not tenable for you to ignore us.
We know that Argentina has an uncompromising narrative on the history of our Islands. It is not a history that we recognise, or which we believe is substantiated by the archives of our respective governments. I am enclosing a new publication that our Government has just produced, explaining the history of the Falkland Islands from the people who call it their home. I hope you find time to read it; we are publishing a Spanish version in the next few weeks.
We ask you again to reconsider your refusal to speak with us. We remain happy to meet with you at your convenience.
The Hon Dick Sawle MLA
Minister Timerman is in London to make Argentina’s case on the Falklands/Malvinas dispute before the UK/Argentina parliamentary group and on Wednesday before 18 groups from the European Union who supports the resumption of dialogue between Argentina and the UK on the issue.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that any meeting with Minister Timerman in which the Falklands issue is involved should include representatives from the Falklands. Mr. Timerman has repeatedly rejected point blank such a position.
“Mr Timerman's own plans in the UK are clearly focused on the Falkland Islands issue and since we remain concerned about the Argentine government's recent behavior towards the Falkland Islanders it is right and proper that their political representatives are involved in the part of the meeting that concerns them. We continue to make that clear to the Argentine government in diplomatic exchanges and the foreign secretary's offer of a meeting on these terms still stands”