The 13th September joint statement between Argentina and the UK is a new bilateral convergence of common interests and the possibility, in the framework of a new dialogue and cooperation, of sovereignty discussions resumption on the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich islands and adjoining maritime spaces question, Argentine Deputy foreign minister Carlos Foradori told the Lower House Foreign Affairs committee during a summons on Wednesday.
Ambassador Foradori pointed out that a joint statement is a non binding roadmap and anticipated that in the event of signing any agreements with the UK they will merit be full and active participation of Congress be it through deliberations, considerations and debates.
Proceeding on this path, is an objective of all Argentines linked to obtaining full sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and Sandwich Islands and adjoining maritime spaces underlined the Argentine official
The Argentine/UK joint statement from last 13 September, when the visit of Foreign Secretary minister for the Latin America, Alan Duncan, is not an agreement or an international treaty. According to practice these statements have no signature or effective beginning date, they are a programmatic document, non binding and something normal following this type of meetings that conclude with a road map on all those issues of common interest, which naturally include the Malvinas question, said the Argentine foreign ministry release.
Following the enumeration of the statement's different areas in bilateral cooperation, Foradori centered his presentation in the South Atlantic chapter, the one which attracted most interest for lawmakers.
Foradori was categorical: the joint statement does not ignore the sovereignty question, all the South Atlantic islands and maritime spaces have been adequately preserved with the inclusion of the sovereignty formula agreed under the Madrid Joint Declaration, 19 October 1989, which in essence is the recognition of the controversy.
The sovereignty umbrella is not new: it has its origin in Article IV of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and was used in the 1971 Argentine/British Joint Declaration referred to communications, which among other issues established flights between the continent and the Malvinas Islands and facilitated the movement of people and goods in both directions.
Regarding fisheries, hydrocarbons and flights mentioned in the South Atlantic chapter, they will be the motive of negotiations, and specific accords, with the participation of Congress.
Likewise ”the removal of obstacles (imposed on the Falklands) mentioned in the statement must not be interpreted as a one side concession, but as concessions and gestures from both sides. And the bilateral treatment of these issues is not new: they were discussed previous to the 1982 armed conflict and retaken in 1990 with the Joint Declaration, the Hydrocarbons joint declaration from 1995 and the 1999 joint declaration on communications.
Specifically on fisheries, Foradori recalled the South Atlantic fisheries committee on conservation which functioned regularly until 2005 when the UK unilaterally announced the concession of 25-year fishing licenses. In 2006 and 07 special diplomatic meetings were held but with no success and in 2012, Argentina presented UK a proposal to retake fisheries conservations, that did not prosper.
On hydrocarbons Foradori said that the 1995 Joint declaration which was based on cooperation failed because of the divergent interpretations between the two sides on the exploration and exploitation areas. In October 1995, UK launched a unilateral public bid in the disputed area. The declaration also established a Committee which in its last meeting in 2000 both sides agreed to a pause. Again in 2006 and 07, Argentina proposed unsuccessfully to resume oil dialogue and in March 2007 Argentina protested the Joint declaration given the persistence of unilateral British actions. In this context Foradori talked about the different legal norms adopted by the Argentine government with the purpose of implementing administrative and criminal sanctions against those companies involved in the industry without the authorization of Argentine competent authorities.
As to air links, Foradori explained that currently there is an only commercial weekly flight which connects Punta Arenas with the Falklands, with two monthly calls in Rio Gallegos. In 2003 and 04 Argentina made new proposals to establish regular additional flights linking with Argentina which were not accepted by the UK. Finally in March 2012 there was another proposal for direct flights between Buenos Aires and the Islands which again did not prosper. As to the 13 September joint statement, it would increase, in case formal agreements are reached, the frequency of flights with calls in Argentine territorial continent. Nevertheless all these details, alternatives and general considerations, they will be matter of deliberations and conversations. No airline can be discarded.
Ambassador Foradori underlined the significance of the identification of the remains of Argentine combatants buried at the Darwin cemetery, with the sponsoring of the International Red Cross, an issue with important advances in recent months, It is essentially a humanitarian initiative, proposed by Argentina to the Red Cross in 2012 and its effective execution will constitute undoubtedly a step forward in the reconciliation between the UK and Argentina”
Finally the deputy minister insisted that the joint statement was a new Argentine/UK convergence with the possibility in this new dialogue and cooperation climate the possibility of resuming sovereignty discussions on the South Atlantic islands and maritime spaces.