The governors, from Tierra del Fuego and Santa Fe will be part of the delegation when the Argentine presentation before the UN Decolonisation Committee on the Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty dispute, next Thursday June 20 in New York.
They were invited by Foreign minister Hector Timerman who is head of delegation this year and according to the official Argentine release on this occasion is “the referendum held in the Malvinas Islands” and which overwhelmingly confirmed the Falklands’ current status as a British Overseas Territory.
Governors Fabiana Rios (independent) and Antonio Bonfatti (Socialist) do not belong to the ruling coalition headed by President Cristina Fernandez but have relatively good relations with the Executive.
Fabiana Rios official denomination is Governor of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands, which theoretically include the disputed insular territories. She has made the invitation extensive to provincial lawmakers, members of her cabinet, three Tierra del Fuego mayors and Malvinas veterans’ organizations, to be funded by the provincial treasury.
Governor Bonfatti’s case is slightly different since he will be absent on Thursday June 20, Flag Day in Argentina, from the ceremony next to the Flag monument in the city of Rosario which is the main celebration of the Santa Fe province.
Next October mid term elections are scheduled in Argentina, and President Cristina Fernandez is expected to launch the campaign on Thursday from the Flag Monument, and it is only natural she wants the full stage for her.
Bonfatti, a physician, was born in Rosario and for several years held important posts in the city’s government where he enjoys strong support, besides the fact that in previous ceremonies the crowd made sure the message was clear and loud and understood by Cristina Fernandez.
In a brief message Bonifatti said he regrets not being able to attend Flag Day ceremony, but “the President of the Nation values as very positive that he accompanies the Argentine delegation in New York, which undoubtedly is a matter of State and merits the whole support from the government of Santa Fe and from all Argentines”.
According to the Argentine release, at the C24 meeting, Argentina will reiterate its request for the UK to sit at a table and negotiate a peaceful solution to the sovereignty controversy over the Malvinas, “after 180 years of illegal occupation of our territories”.
However “the news this year is the referendum organized by the British government in the Malvinas, according to which the implanted population decided to continue under colonial status. The UK, short of replies in international forums to calls to comply with resolutions and declarations from the UN and other organizations, is attempting to make the heart of the discussions the Islanders wishes and rights, a tactic countered by Argentina with an important diplomatic effort following meetings held with over fifty countries, where is was clearly stamped that the issue is a matter of territorial integrity, and the right to self determination is not applicable to the Malvinas case, with an implanted population”.
Likewise after the Falklands March referendum, when there was an overwhelming turnout and support for British sovereignty, “Argentina together with officials from CELAC; UNASUR and MERCOSUR made an official presentation before UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to reject the referendum organized and sponsored by the British. Something similar happened at the recent Organization of American States, OAS, General Assembly in Guatemala where a consensus statement was approved, calling for dialogue on the only two sides of the dispute, the UK and Argentina”.
Last year which coincided with the thirtieth anniversary of the Argentine military invasion of the Falklands, and their surrender and ousting by a British Task Force, President Cristina Fernandez headed the official delegation to C24 and was one of the speakers.
The Argentine tactic on this occasion is not expected to be so impressive and colourful but apparently will rather hammer on ‘the UK double standards’ referred to recent rulings involving the Chagos people, evicted in the seventies (with no consideration for self determination) from their homeland, Diego García and other islands in the Indian Ocean. The islands with some of the most spectacular coral reefs have been turned by the UK into the world’s major marine reserve.