Argentine President Cristina Fernandez marked Tuesday's 31st anniversary of the start of the Falklands War by again demanding that Britain agree to discuss sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands.
Refusing dialogue is incomprehensible said Cristina Fernandez at the Veterans Day ceremony at Puerto Madryn, warning that the “Malvinas question should not be used to hide Europe’s disaster caused by adjustment policies”.
Argentina will continue asking unremittingly that Britain, which has occupied the Falklands since 1833, comply with the 1965 UN resolution describing UK's control of the Islands as colonialism and calling on the parties to resolve the dispute through dialogue, insisted Cristina Fernandez.
We keep asking why they refuse talks with a democratic government, the Argentine president said. She pointed out that Argentina does not consider Britain an enemy, insisting that peace and diplomacy are the only valid ways for Argentina to pursue its claims.
“The only enemies Argentina has are poverty and inequality”, said the president who nevertheless accused the UK of militarizing the South Atlantic, which “is free of all conflict”.
“While they (UK) send warships, we will take science ships for (the development) of knowledge and technology” the president said and added that “wars only serve those who sell and produce arms.”
Cristina Fernandez also recalled on Tuesday how the people of Puerto Madryn, a few days after the war ended (14 June 1982), received, fed and lodged in their homes the close to 8.000 Argentine soldiers that were returned by the British to the city and whom the military dictatorship governing Argentina at the time attempted to hide.
“This April 2nd is a tribute from the Argentine people to more than 7.000 veterans who returned to the city of Puerto Madryn from the Islands and were received” by the people in the Patagonian city.
In her speech the Argentine president made no mention of last month's referendum in which an overwhelming majority of Falklands’ inhabitants, 99.8%, voted in favor of maintaining the status of British Overseas Territory
At the main ceremony marking Malvinas Veteran Day, the president was accompanied by members of her cabinet, provincial governors, officials and ‘Kirchnerite’ political leaders. War veterans, military authorities and diplomats also attended the rally.
However the ceremony was not without controversy since Malvinas veterans’ groups from the province of Chubut complained they were not invited or sided from Puerto Madryn’s ceremony and thus did not attend. In solidarity Comodoro Rivadavia mayor also cancelled his trip to Puerto Madryn.
Complaints also arrived from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego where traditionally the main April 2 ceremony is held since under the 1994 Argentine constitution the Malvinas and other South Atlantic Islands belong to that jurisdiction.
Likewise complaints were heard at the city of Rio Grande where Malvinas veterans await the arrival of April 2 during a night vigil supported by government and provincial officials. On this occasion Vice president Amado Boudou was announced for the vigil but never turned up and instead was next to President Cristina Fernandez in Puerto Madryn.