Falkland Islands: Argentina and UK clash at UN: no talks without the accord of Islanders
Argentina's Foreign minister Hector Timerman together with Latam representatives called on UN chief Ban Ki Moon and demanded talks with the UK on the Falklands/Malvinas Islands sovereignty, but Britain again refused, pointing to the Islanders' overwhelming vote this month to remain British.
Speaking on Tuesday at the United Nations, Timerman called the referendum illegal and said it is truly deplorable that Britain has rejected 40 resolutions by the UN Decolonization Committee and UN General Assembly calling for negotiations between the two countries on sovereignty.
Timerman was flanked at a press conference by ministers representing major Latam regional organizations, saying they wanted to demonstrate the region's unity in support of Argentina's claim to the Falklands and its demand for sovereignty.
The Argentine minister was accompanied at the 30 minutes interview with Ban Ki-Moon by his peers from Cuba and Uruguay, Bruno Rodriguez and Luis Almagro, representing Celac and Mercosur and Peruvian Deputy minister Jose Beraun for Unasur.
However Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said it was untenable for Argentina to reject the overwhelming vote in favor of British rule. The referendum this month managed a 92% turnout and 99.8% voted in favor of remaining British.
Timerman called the vote illegal and said the Falklands, held by Britain since the 18th century, are a matter of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Questions cannot be asked to the occupier if they are happy to continue occupying a territory which is not theirs. The question is to whom do these islands belong?
The British ambassador responded: It is disappointing that Mr Timerman and his colleagues spent so little time talking about the Falkland Islanders and the wishes of the Falkland islanders.
He added: Their views are now unequivocally on the record and should be respected by all. Argentina's dismissal of the referendum as illegal and irrelevant is untenable.
The UN Secretary General has offered his good offices to try to end the dispute, but Britain insists however that there can be no talks on the Falklands without the accord of the Islanders.
We must continue to insist, said Timerman. Of course we would like the secretary general to wear down the other party and not be worn out. Timerman insisted in calling the vote illegal and said the Falklands are a matter of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Argentina raises the Falklands case each year at the UN's decolonization committee. Britain boycotts the event though Falklands' legislators speak there each year.
The United Kingdom government's position will remain that there will not and cannot be any discussions on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until the Islanders so wish insisted Lyall Grant.
Timerman also denounced Britain's military invasion of the Falklands but said Argentina wants a peaceful settlement.
He claimed that Britain wants the Falklands as a military base with high offensive technology close to the Antarctic and close to the only natural waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific. He called this a strategic colonialist decision.
Timerman also accused Britain of refusing to answer if there are nuclear submarines or not in the area of the south Atlantic, which is an area of peace where the entry of nuclear weapons is prohibited.
Lyall Grant said Timerman claim that Britain is militarizing the south Atlantic is completely untrue. He pointed out the defence presence in the Falklands has not changed substantially in the last 30 years since the end of the Argentine invasion in 1982.
Ban Ki-Moon’s office version of events was that the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Cuba, Peru and Uruguay discussed the issue of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas during their meeting on Tuesday at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom have been engaged in a dispute concerning the sovereignty of the Islands, located in the South Atlantic Ocean.
According to a read-out of the meeting, the Secretary-General acknowledged the strong regional support on this issue and reiterated that his good offices to resolve this dispute remain available, if the parties are willing to engage.
The Falkland Islands (Malvinas) is one of 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, along with Gibraltar, New Caledonia, Western Sahara, American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands and Tokelau.