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Montevideo, February 16th 2019 - 04:21 UTC

Falklands are not recognized as a “people” and the principle of self determination does not apply, argues Malcorra

Friday, June 24th 2016 - 04:00 UTC
Full article 54 comments
 Among the tasks that this Special Committee deals with year after year is an issue of great importance to my country: the question of the Malvinas Islands Among the tasks that this Special Committee deals with year after year is an issue of great importance to my country: the question of the Malvinas Islands

With a less aggressive tone but with the same determination, Argentine foreign minister Susana Malcorra (and hopeful UN Secretary General), argued that the principle of self-determination is not absolute and does not apply to the disputed Falkland/Malvinas Islands, since the principle of territorial integrity of States prevails, and the inhabitants of the Malvinas are not recognized as a “people”.

 Ms Malcorra on Thursday made the presentation of Argentina before the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, or C24, and repeated Argentine State-policy arguments, particularly those referred to solving the matter through negotiations with the UK, “taking into account the interests of the Islanders and respecting their lifestyle”.

The Argentine minister also indicated that since President Macri took office last December, he has expressed his willingness to start a new chapter in Argentina-UK relations.

“We are convinced that this relationship must be restored and President Macri, who has been in office for only six months, has already mentioned this to Prime Minister David Cameron at the two meetings they have held this year”.

Ms Malcorra said Argentina aspires that the region be recognized as an example of peace and dialogue between nations, but to achieve this, “it is crucial to strengthening the South Atlantic as a zone of peace, free from nuclear weapons and militarization measures, as well as to find a solution to the dispute over the Malvinas Islands”.

Finally the Macri administration expects the two parties (Argentina and UK) will be able to work creatively and in a spirit of cooperation, addressing each and every issue on the bilateral agenda, excluding none.

Follows the speech of Ms Malcorra:

“I have the honor to address the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization for the first time as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic.

In such capacity, I would like to acknowledge the constant efforts made by the Chair and the members of the Special Committee to end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the mandate of the General Assembly.

At the same time, we would like to express our appreciation to the Government and People of Nicaragua for their hospitality and professionalism in the organization of the Regional Decolonization Seminar which was recently held in Managua and the conclusions and recommendations which imply an important contribution to the work of this Committee.

When the United Nations were founded in 1945, there were more than 80 Non-Self-Governing Territories in the world, inhabited by 750 million people. Since then, the promotion of decolonization has been a priority for the Organization. In 1960, this process reached a milestone with the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the ”Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (Resolution 1514[XX]), which is truly a Charter in the field of Decolonization.

Today, thanks to the work of the UN and particularly through the effort and commitment of bodies such as this Special Committee, there are only seventeen territories pending decolonization.

The Argentine Republic has supported this process from the outset and actively contributes to the efforts of the Committee, particularly to the annual assessment of the situation of the territories, the debates on the Fourth Committee, and the regional decolonization seminars.

Mr. Chair:

Among the tasks that this Special Committee deals with year after year is an issue of great importance to my country: the question of the Malvinas Islands, which is a special and particular colonial situation among the seventeen remaining cases of decolonization.

This is a historical and central issue of my country’s foreign policy, as set forth in our National Constitution which reaffirms the legitimate and imprescriptible sovereignty of the Argentine Republic over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas and it establishes that.: “[r]ecovering these territories and full sovereignty over them, while respecting the lifestyle of the islanders and in accordance with international law , is a permanent and unrelinquished objective of the Argentine people.”

It is not my intention now to list all the historical and legal precedents that support our rights, since this Committee is already familiar with them. I will simply recall that the Malvinas Islands have been an integral part of the Argentine territory since the very birth of our nation. In 1833, the Islands were occupied by the United Kingdom by force. This act of force, which is at the origin of and core to the Question of the Malvinas Islands, was never consented to by the Argentine Republic, which has since then claimed the restitution of its full sovereignty over the territory.

The passing of time has not eroded the validity of our claim or the strength of our conviction that this protracted sovereignty dispute must be solved through negotiations between the two parties involved.

The issue transcends Governments and constitutes a State policy on which all the political forces of my country agree. This is demonstrated by the fact that I am accompanied today by representatives of different political parties.

In this context, I would like to reiterate before this Special Committee the full willingness of the Argentine Government to resume negotiations with the United Kingdom, in order to find a peaceful and definite solution to the sovereignty dispute, as stated in the successive relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and this Committee.

Mr. Chair:

In 1965, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 2065 (XX) recognizing the existence of a sovereignty dispute over the question of the Malvinas Islands between Argentina and the United Kingdom, calling for its resolution through negotiations between the two parties and taking into account the interests of the Islanders.

Since the beginning of the decolonization process in the 1960's, Argentina has strongly supported the principle of self-determination of peoples, in accordance with Resolution 1514 (XX), the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. However, the principle of self-determination, like any other principle, is not absolute. It cannot violate the territorial integrity of existing States.

This is why self-determination does not apply to the current inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands, who are not recognized as a “people” which can exercise this right under the United Nations resolutions . In contrast with traditional cases of colonialism, in which a pre-existing population falls victim to the establishment of a colonial rule, the resolutions on the Question of the Malvinas Islands make no reference to the principle of self-determination. Furthermore, in 1985 the General Assembly rejected two amendment attempts aimed at incorporating a reference to the self-determination in the resolution over the question of the Malvinas Islands.

When the United Kingdom forcefully occupied the islands in 1833, it expelled the authorities and population of the State that was legitimately exercising its sovereignty, subsequently implanting its own settlers and strictly controlling migration policies, which have determined up to this very day the current composition of the population in the territory.

Decolonization and self-determination are therefore not synonyms. Not all decolonization cases are solved by applying the principle of self-determination, since in cases such as this one, there is an underlying sovereignty dispute that has to be solved by the Parties to it; that is, the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom.

Since the adoption of Resolution 2065 (XX) and for sixteen years, the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom engaged in substantive negotiations, discussing different specific proposals that considered the recovery of the exercise of the Argentina's sovereignty over the territory. In 1968, both government initialized a Memorandum of Understanding, which stated that “the common objective was to settle definitively and in an amicable manner the dispute over sovereignty”. In 1974, a British proposal of condominium on the Malvinas Islands was discussed as step prior to the definitive solution of the sovereignty dispute. In February 1981, bilateral talks aimed at finding a solution to the conflict took place in New York, but unfortunately, despite the efforts made, it was not possible to reach an agreement.

During this period, my country made great efforts to improve the living conditions of the islanders, establishing direct air connections to the Argentine mainland on a weekly schedule, fuel supply and access to its healthcare and education systems, among other benefits.

Subsequently, since 1982, the United Kingdom has remained uncompromising in its refusal to resume negotiations, in spite of the repeated calls by the General Assembly which, in November of that same year and just some months after the South Atlantic conflict was over, adopted Resolution 37/9, calling on the Parties, once again, to resume negotiations with a view to finding a solution to the sovereignty dispute. By doing this, the United Nations made it clear that the conflict had neither solved the dispute nor changed its legal nature.

With regards to the conflict of 1982, I would like to recall that this took place while our country was being governed by a military dictatorship and provoked the priceless loses of both Argentine and British lives, to whom it is fair and necessary to honor.

Mr. Chair:

Twenty-six years have passed since Argentina and the United Kingdom resumed diplomatic relations through a bilateral agreement with a sovereignty safeguard clause, which safeguards their respective positions with respect to the dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime areas.

During this period, the Argentine Republic has repeatedly expressed its willingness to solve the matter through negotiations with the United Kingdom, taking into account the interests of the Islanders and respecting their lifestyle. It is clear that, through the years, the deadlock over this situation has hindered the full development of relations between Argentina and the United Kingdom.

Since President Macri took office last December, he has expressed his willingness to start a new chapter in Argentina-UK relations. The two countries have traditionally had a rich and mutually beneficial relationship, spanning various fields of cooperation.

We are convinced that this relationship must be restored and President Macri, who has been in office for only six months, has already mentioned this to Prime Minister David Cameron at the two meetings they have held this year.

On my part, I have recently met with the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Philip Hammond, for the first work session between foreign ministers of the two countries in over fourteen years. On this occasion, we discussed the possibilities of strengthening our bilateral relations in several areas of mutual interest. In addition, we agree that our disagreement with respect to this question should not affect the progress of a positive agenda that includes the identification of possible areas of cooperation in the South Atlantic, such as natural resources and connections between the continent and the islands. We also agreed to promote Antarctic cooperation.

We wish to maintain a broad agenda with the United Kingdom, in order to address all issues and build consensus in the different fields in which we identify opportunities. However, we would also like to maintain an open and clear dialogue over the sovereignty dispute, in order to work in an intensive and substantive manner towards a solution for the protracted dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime areas.

Mr. Chair:

The Argentine Republic aspires that our region be recognized as an example of peace and dialogue between nations, for the world and for future generations. In order to achieve this, it is crucial to strengthening the South Atlantic as a zone of peace, free from nuclear weapons and militarization measures, as well as to find a solution to the dispute over the Malvinas Islands.

We believe that the current circumstances offer a favorable context to deal with this matter at the bilateral level and to overcome disagreements. We firmly believe in the importance of sitting at the negotiating table to discuss any problem, however complex, because this is the only way to find a solution.

Within this new framework we would like to set for our relations with the United Kingdom, we expect that the two parties will be able to work creatively and in a spirit of cooperation, addressing each and every issue on the bilateral agenda, excluding none.

We also expect that, within this constructive framework, the Government of the United Kingdom will end the unilateral measures in the area under dispute, as required by Resolution 31/49 of the General Assembly, and, we reiterate that several multilateral and regional fora have condemned the unilateral activities for the exploration and exploitation of natural renewable and non-renewable resources carried out in the area under the sovereignty dispute.

Mr. Chair:

I would like to share with the delegates to this Special Committee the conviction of the Argentine Government that, with political will, it is possible to reach a definitive solution to the Question of the Malvinas Islands.

I acknowledge once more the efforts made by the Committee to put an end to all colonial situations and, in particular, its permanent attention to the special and particular Question of the Malvinas Islands.

I would like to express Argentina's special acknowledgement of the Latin American countries that have co-sponsored the draft Resolution, our partners and allies of MERCOSUR, UNASUR, CELAC, AOS and the G77 and China, as well as all the other countries of the international community that are permanently expressing their support for the resolution of this dispute through multilateral, regional and bi-regional fora, among which the Summit of South American- Arab Countries (ASPA), the South America-Africa Summit (ASA) and the Ibero-American Summit.

I hope the above considerations will help the draft Resolution that will be submitted for consideration to obtain the solid support of this Special Committee, as in previous years.

Thank you very much.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Marti Llazo

    Poor Malacara. The anxiety that comes with supporting such Argentine silliness must weigh heavily.

    Jun 24th, 2016 - 04:31 am 0
  • Chuch

    You just kissed you chance of being Secretary-General good bye. It is a time of reformation not just for the EU but also for the UN. The voice of reason is getting louder and louder, so much so that the howl is deafening. We’re not gonna take it, NO! We’re not gonna take it, we’re not goinna take it anymore!

    Jun 24th, 2016 - 05:04 am 0
  • Marcos Alejandro

    Brexit done, Malvinas exit next.

    Jun 24th, 2016 - 05:17 am 0
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