The United Kingdom had no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Islands, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, and there could be no dialogue on sovereignty over them unless its people so wished, the UK representative Stephen Hickey said at the United Nations Fourth Committee meetings this week.
Recalling that the 2013 Falklands' referendum had sent a clear message that the people did not want such a dialogue, Hickey went on to underline that UK's longstanding commitment to the people of the Falklands remained unchanged, and UK would not enter a process of negotiations over sovereignty with which that Territory was not content.
The UK representative was replying to a previous statement by Argentina's Martin García Moritán who argued that while his country would always defend the right to selfdetermination everywhere, he cautioned that the principle was not absolute and must not be used as a pretext to interfere with the territorial integrity of existing States.
The question of the Malvinas Islands, involving a dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, must be considered within that framework, he underlined.
Mr García Moritán went on to recount events following the 1833 occupation of the Malvinas, saying Britain had brought in its own settlers and established strict migratory controls to ensure a demographic composition in favor of its interests. He recalled that UN General Assembly resolution 2065 described it as a special and specific colonial situation, recognizing that the sovereignty dispute could only be resolved through negotiations between the parties.
Garcia Moritan reiterated that selfdetermination was not applicable to the current inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands — as reflected in more than 40 resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Special Committee on Decolonization — most recently in June.
As to the bilateral relation of the dispute, Garcia Moritán said that under Resolution 2065 (1965), Argentina and UK had engaged in substantive communications, but full proposals had never been implemented.
Moreover, the 1982 conflict had not altered the nature of the dispute and certainly had not resolved it. Both parties had been called upon to resume bilateral negotiations and resolve the sovereignty dispute peacefully, and since December 2015, the two sides had entered a new phase, working on the bilateral relationship
The Argentine delegate said that in September 2016, the two sides had agreed on a road map going forward, and had issued a joint communiqué reflecting the political will of both parties.
However the UK representation in right of reply in response to Argentina insisted that there were no doubts about the situation of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Islands, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.
Nor were there any doubts about the principle by virtue of which the Territory’s residents had freely determined their political status, and thus there could be no dialogue on selfdetermination unless those people so wished, emphasizing that Argentina should respect those wishes.
The United Kingdom’s relationship with its Territories was a modern one, adding that no civilian population had been expelled from the Territory in 1833, and the Falklands had never been part of Argentina’s sovereign territory.