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EU support for Falklands at the UN in doubt, warns ex UK ambassador

Wednesday, December 20th 2017 - 09:30 UTC
Full article 39 comments

The European Union will refuse to back Britain in United Nations votes over the Falkland Islands after Brexit, a former ambassador has suggested. Other countries regarded the UK’s loss of influence since the Leave vote “as a shark would regard blood in the water”, Lord Hannay told a parliamentary inquiry. Read full article


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  • Brit Bob

    Sir Anthony Kershaw answers a question in the House of Commons regarding British sovereignty of the Falklands; “I have no doubt that the British claim to sovereignty over the Falklands is sound in law. It must be granted that the various claims made before 1833 and the landings that took place present a somewhat confusing picture. The British occupation in 1833 was a legitimate and legally respectable action, which, having been followed by continuous occupation and administration, enthusiastically supported by the population, makes undeniably good our legal claim to sovereignty. The fact that the Argentines believe the opposite is irrelevant.” (March 18th, at the UN, Argentina claims that the UK is obligated by Art. 33 of th (Hansard March 14th 1985)

    But let us not forget that Argentina can go to the international courts and claim that they inherited the Falklands from Spain. Can't they?

    Falklands – Argentina's Inheritance Problem ( 1 pg): -

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 10:22 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • British_Kirchnerist

    I'm surprised its taken so long for someone to raise this, Gibralter became an issue right away with Spain needed to sign off the deal, the Irish issue has become central to Brexit, and the SNP immediately pushed for a second independence referendum. So now the Falklanders don't have to feel left out by the Brexit roadshow ;) And more seriously, if it leads to justice for the Chagossians, then at least Brexit will have one good consequence!

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 11:21 am - Link - Report abuse -7
  • darragh

    Wouldn't surprise me at all knowing the EUs unrivalled capacity for acting like a bunch of sulking five year old's.

    B-K - you know eff all about the Irish situation.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 12:40 pm - Link - Report abuse +5
  • EscoSesDoidao

    One point BK, - The Scottish Government have a mandate to hold this coming referendum on independence. Thats what they were elected on, - If Scotland is threateded with being dragged out of the EU against the majority of Scots voters will, - There will be another Independence referendum. It will be before the UK actually leaves, as the current UK Gov plan to abolish the Scottish Parliment, - Best way to bring the huge majority of Scots to voting yes for Indy, - Thank you so much Westminster.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 01:16 pm - Link - Report abuse -8
  • golfcronie

    Let us hope that Scotland gets independence as Esco says at least they can then stand on their own two feet and not sponge of the rest of the UK.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 01:48 pm - Link - Report abuse +2
  • shackleton

    Its high time the US and UK abandoned the Useless Nations to all the ragbag turd-world so-called “countries” who contribute next-to-nothing whilst using it as a soap-box for bashing us.

    The US and UK should leave and start a new organisation “League of Free Nations” - only those countries meeting certain standards of governance and freedom should be allowed to join. Of course the likes of Russia and China would not qualify but it would incentivise some marginally “OK” countries to improve their standards of governance, accountability, freedom of speech, etc. Taiwan, for example, should be back in.

    With the UN there are no such incentives - any country can join. What sort of “club” is that?

    After the recent “Jerusalem” declaration hopefully this is on Trump's agenda. He should start by booting them out of NY and tell them to go somewhere more appropriate, like Tripoli.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 02:13 pm - Link - Report abuse +5
  • British_Kirchnerist

    daragh I know even more about Ireland than Argentina - but I guess some wag on here will say that's not saying much ;)

    golfer I'm sorry but despite Brexit most of us want to stay put. And thanks for reminding us of part of the left case against independence - to outvote Tories like you =)

    shackleton That's a radical idea, though funnily enough the day after Brexit a lot of Americans did think we'd voted to leave the UN. The only country that ever did btw was Sukarno's Indonesia, on anti-imperialist and anti-British grounds so you might be in different company than you think ;) But the UN definitely needs a shakeup - maybe Cristina could be Secretary General, she'd be a stronger candidate than Malcorra =)

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 03:13 pm - Link - Report abuse -4
  • Clyde15


    If CFK was voted Secy. General, her first act would be to put her hand in the till !

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 06:08 pm - Link - Report abuse +4
  • Terence Hill

    “The European Union will refuse to back Britain in United Nations votes over the Falkland Islands … EU countries helped inflict a humiliating defeat on Britain over the legal status of the Chagos Islands, in a UN vote” or Gibraltar. Are not subject to any political interference whats so ever by the the UNGA since they are all legal issues. Further, the UK has every legal right to refuse to allow the the ICJ or et al any jurisdiction in the matter. Therefore the issue is closed indefinitely.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 07:35 pm - Link - Report abuse +5
  • DemonTree

    Well, this isn't a surprise. I don't know why anyone thinks it's unreasonable, the EU doesn't own the UK any support once we are no longer a member.

    Unfortunately it's unlikely to lead to justice for the Chagossians. It's Mauritius who are demanding the return of the islands, and they have shown no more care for the original residents than Britain did. The Mauritian government famously pocketed the money that Britain (belatedly) gave them to compensate the Chagossians, and didn't given them any support to rebuild their lives in their new home.

    Plus a lot of Chagossians these days have British citizenship, and I can't see the Mauritian government being keen to let a bunch of what are effectively foreign separatists move back there, even if they can persuade the US to allow it.

    “as the current UK Gov plan to abolish the Scottish Parliment”


    Dec 20th, 2017 - 09:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • darragh


    UK Government plan to abolish Scottish Parliament ???????

    That's a new one - please let me have a link to verify it.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 11:13 pm - Link - Report abuse +3
  • The Voice

    Link? Some people seem to have the mistaken belief that any link is proof, its not!

    Scottish Independence is a busted flush with minority support.

    No international support is needed in the question of Falklands sovereignty.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 11:26 pm - Link - Report abuse +3
  • DemonTree

    Not every link is proof, depends what the link is to, doesn't it? But no link at all is worse.

    Since this is ED, it's 10 to 1 the link will be to wingsoverscotland, anyway.

    Dec 21st, 2017 - 12:14 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • darragh

    The Voice/DT

    No I don't think a link is proof of anything I just wanted some information that I might then be able to verify (or not) myself. I've tried the usual sources i.e. Google and can find no reference.

    Actually I agree that Scottish Independence is a busted flush.

    Dec 21st, 2017 - 12:25 am - Link - Report abuse +3
  • Roger Lorton

    1973 the UK joined the EU.

    That's 140 years after Onslow kicked off some trespassers in 1833.

    208 years after Byron reasserted Hawkin's claim.

    379 years after Hawkins claim for the Maiden Queen.

    So remind me, what did the Romans ... sorry, the EU, ever do for us - and please, don't mention the War.


    Dec 21st, 2017 - 01:30 am - Link - Report abuse +8
  • DemonTree

    Yeah, I'd like to know what he's talking about too.

    “the EU imposed sanctions after [Argentina's] 1982 invasion of the Falklands Islands.”

    Dec 21st, 2017 - 01:36 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Roger Lorton

    They did - but only with Maggie wielding her handbag. The other members of the EU were most reluctant, particularly Eire and Italy, who both threatened to break the sanctions. It was actually something of a surprise when those sanctions were renewed. But, by the Gods, did they moan.

    Willing allies? Not a bit of it.

    Told you not to mention the war, now. didn't I?


    Dec 21st, 2017 - 09:38 am - Link - Report abuse +6
  • Clyde15

    Well,at least we will know who our friends are. They can then expect an act of reciprocity from us when the situation arises.

    Dec 21st, 2017 - 11:20 am - Link - Report abuse +5
  • EscoSesDoidao

    PMSL at the Scotophobes on here. Watch this space. Why are Brits so scared of Scottish Independence? Cognitive dissonance. ;-)

    Dec 21st, 2017 - 12:16 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Clyde15

    “One point BK, - The Scottish Government have a mandate to hold this coming referendum on independence. Thats what they were elected on,”

    The SNP won 63 seats of the 129 available. That means 66 seats went to other parties, so that means the SNP are a minority government.

    How does this give them a mandate ?

    Dec 21st, 2017 - 01:00 pm - Link - Report abuse +6
  • Pete Bog


    “seriously, if it leads to justice for the Chagossians”

    Are you suggesting that the Chagossians want Mauritian sovereignty over the Chagos?

    According to the President elect Allen Vincatasin, who is proud to be British, the Chagossians want to be a British BOT.

    To the best of my knowledge Mauritius have never populated the Chagos.. They were uninhabited until the 18th century when the French started the first plantations.

    In 1815 the British took over ownership from the French, so the Chagossian generations born on the Islands (either Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos and the Salamon Islands) during the 19th and 20th century up till about 1970, consider themselves British as they were never under Mauritian rule.


    ”Unfortunately it's unlikely to lead to justice for the Chagossians. It's Mauritius who are demanding the return of the islands, and they have shown no more care for the original residents than Britain did. The Mauritian government famously pocketed the money that Britain (belatedly) gave them to compensate the Chagossians, and didn't given them any support to rebuild their lives in their new home”

    Correct. the Mauritian claim is no more valid than the Argentine claim for the Falklands.

    When I hear Mauritian politicians expressing concern for the Chagossians, it's no more than crocodile tears.

    I've spoken to Chagossians who lived in Mauritius.

    It was so bad Chagossians had to move to the UK to escape conditions that killed them in Port L.

    Back on post.

    The UN is powerless to judge on the false claim of Argentinian sovereignty, as the Argentines don't have a viable uncontested claim.

    If EU members vote against Britain perhaps they would prefer we buy our goods from non EU countries?

    The ambassador may be right but he only has to look at RLs timeline to see how dishwater weak the Argentine claim is.

    Since when has the UN made any difference concerning North Korea?

    Peaky Blinders still keeps chucking out missiles.

    Dec 21st, 2017 - 02:30 pm - Link - Report abuse +4
  • Roger Lorton


    I seem to recall that the Chagos were a part of the Mauritius colony that became the Mauritius NSGT after 1946. I also seem to recall that the people who lived on the Chagos, with or without a contract of employment, were all considered Mauritians or Seychellians. I also recall that those people went back to those two, by now independent, nations after the badly mishandled ejections.

    It seems reasonably certain IMHO that, following the PCA decision and the likely outcome of the ICJ consideration, that the Chagos will be returned to Mauritius at some point in the future.

    I must suggest then that the Chagos becoming a BOT would seem an unlikely result.

    Dec 21st, 2017 - 02:53 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • DemonTree

    “The other members of the EU were most reluctant”

    So what? They don't have to like it, they just have to do it. Allies != friends.

    The biggest advantage of the EU was the financial one. Currently they officially recognise the Falklands as a UK overseas territory, which lets them export meat and fish tariff free. Did you see the article about the beef quota for Mercosur? The EU does not give random South American countries this privilege.

    No link? Is this something you made up yourself then?

    And why should we support Scottish independence? I supported holding the referendum unlike what Spain did, but I don't support independence for either Catalonia or Scotland.

    Dec 22nd, 2017 - 12:16 am - Link - Report abuse -1
  • Stoker

    Dec 22nd, 2017 - 06:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • British_Kirchnerist

    La loca...

    Dec 22nd, 2017 - 10:42 pm - Link - Report abuse -3
  • Roger Lorton


    As I understand it, the Islanders are less concerned about the financial effects than might be supposed. They sell licences to fishing fleets. It's the Spanish who are concerned about the effect on their imports. There's a lot of nations in this world, outside of the EU, that want to fish.

    The initial concern was about the political effect, but that seems to have died down.

    Dec 22nd, 2017 - 11:36 pm - Link - Report abuse +3
  • Clyde15

    loco de la cabeza

    Dec 22nd, 2017 - 11:44 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Perhaps. They also sell meat and it will have a much greater effect on that.

    I don't really know what the political effect will be. Maybe not much for now since Macri is not really pushing for it, but some government that will will get back in eventually.

    What if Argentina does decide to go to the ICJ like Mauritius? What are their chances of winning?

    Dec 23rd, 2017 - 10:33 am - Link - Report abuse -2
  • Roger Lorton


    What if? The 1947 legal advice (before self-determination) said -

    “That, in our view, whilst it is not easy to express views with confidence in the unsettled state of International Law in relation to acquisition and loss of territory, Great Britain has a reasonably strong claim to have acquired the Falkland Islands by acquisitive prescription in the nature of usucaption consisting in its de facto possession and occupation of the Falkland Islands since the year 1833. … The protests made by the Argentine can be described as paper protests in that they were never followed up by further positive action. Furthermore, they were punctuated by long periods of silence so far as Great Britain is concerned, during which the Argentine showed no animus either way. There was, for example, such a period of silence between 1849 and 1884 (35 years), and between 1884 and 1908 (24 years). … no positive attempt was made by the Argentine to have the matter referred to any process on international arbitration (although it is true that Dr. Ortiz suggested arbitration in 1884), even after the establishment of the League of Nations the Argentine did not bring the matter before this body. Britain, on the other hand, from 1833, or at least from 1841, … had had factual occupation of the Islands without physical disturbance of any sort and without adverse claim from any quarter, apart from the Argentine, until the present day. … in our view by international law Britain has acquired a prescriptive title to the Falkland Islands, and we accordingly think that if the matter were adjudicated upon, Britain would be successful in establishing her case...”

    Legal advice is only as good as the information given to the lawyers and the FCO file was flawed by many omissions including, most seriously to my mind, that Spain only claimed one island in 1811.

    The 1966 advice has not yet been released but from what I can find broadly agreed with that of 1947. Doubts were about South Sandwich Islands

    Dec 23rd, 2017 - 11:29 pm - Link - Report abuse +4
  • DemonTree

    'Reasonably strong claim', huh? I'm not sure I buy that Spain only claimed one island, why wouldn't they claim both when they could?

    Why were there doubts about the South Sandwich islands?

    Dec 24th, 2017 - 01:07 am - Link - Report abuse -2
  • Asha

    England will return the Malvinas within 25 years.

    Dec 24th, 2017 - 03:50 am - Link - Report abuse -4
  • Clyde15

    Sorry, but your new Troll name should have started with the letter “G”. Very disappointed.

    Dec 24th, 2017 - 09:44 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • British_Kirchnerist

    Come on Clyde, as a fellow English speaker you must have noticed that Maggie sounded quite crazy in that 7 second clip? I think it was from near the end of or after her premiership, by which time the power and paranoia had gone to her head and she'd gone from a very effective class warrior for the other side to a proto-Ukipper

    Dec 24th, 2017 - 09:54 am - Link - Report abuse -4
  • Roger Lorton


    I quote

    This island with its ports, buildings, units and contents belongs to the sovereignty of Sr. D. Fernando VII King of Spain and the Indies, Soledad of Malvinas 7 February 1811 Governor Paul Guillén.

    Island - singular

    As for the South Sandwich Islands, they're almost impossible to land on so very few people had actually stood there.

    Dec 24th, 2017 - 11:37 am - Link - Report abuse +2
  • Clyde15

    I was no fan of M.T. but I don't think she was crazy...a zealot, yes

    Dec 24th, 2017 - 06:11 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • British_Kirchnerist

    I agree with that in the main actually, but stoker's vid was from her later years I think, she certainly sounded a bit “off”...

    Dec 24th, 2017 - 11:13 pm - Link - Report abuse -2
  • Pete Bog


    “I must suggest then that the Chagos becoming a BOT would seem an unlikely result”

    It is unlikely, but if the Chagos Islands were to be a BOT (the Chagossians realise they are not able economically or numerically to become independent), the right of self determination could mean that there is no need to give up sovereignty of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius.

    It may be that the Chagossians were viewed as Mauritian, though the Brit Chagossian opinion is that they had several generations of people born and died on the Chagos Islands themselves (Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos, and the Salamon Islands), since their forefathers came to the islands from the 1770s under French rule, and after 1814 under British rule. There were many who were not imported labour born geographically in the Seychelles and Mauritius, as the Chagossians born on the Islands provided a ready source of labour for the plantations (they were too poor to move anywhere else).

    As the UK have said, (unnecessarily in my opinion as the Chagos islands were not inhabited by Mauritius before the French introduced plantations in the 18th century), that they will cede the Chagos to Mauritius, that the descendants of the Chagossians, if they accept Mauritian sovereignty, will eventually return to the Chagos Islands, as the Mauritian Government have promised to return the Chagossians.

    I won't vote for Corbyn as Land tax would force the same small farmers who bought land from the big rich landowners after death duties were imposed, to sell their land back to..........big, rich landowners, but if he does get into power the Chagossians will be returned home. Alarmingly that is a possibility within the next few years as I don't care for his Castro indoctrinated views toward the Falkland Islands, and his ill- thought envy politics inspired views on Land Tax.

    Dec 25th, 2017 - 11:29 am - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Roger Lorton


    In 1946, the UK listed Mauritius as a NSGT at the United Nations - including the Chagos, which had been administered from there since 1903.

    In 1960, UN resolution 1514 protected the territorial integrity of NSGTs from that date, however, in 1965, the UK 'purchased' the Chagos archipelago from the Mauritius colonial government.

    In 1968 Mauritius became an independent nation.

    However you cut it, the UK is likely to be found to have been in breach of 1514 when it separated the Chagos from the Mauritius NSGT in 1965. Assuming that the current ICJ case concludes that, then I cannot but think that the UK will come under pressure to return the archipelago to Mauritius.

    To attempt, at this late stage, to designate the Chagos as a BOT would simply carry no weight with the ICJ. I doubt that it would be seen as changing the situation.

    The only outcome that I can see, is that the breach of 1514 will put the UK under some pressure, which it'll likely ignore for the foreseeable future.

    Dec 26th, 2017 - 06:45 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pete Bog


    Sadly you may be proved right as the ”British colonial zeitgiest' is still paraded by much of the world, so I doubt the ICJ would find in UK's favour. But it can't be totally ruled out that the UK could make a case for UK sovereignty over the Chagos.

    The Chagossians wishing British rule could not simply be discounted, neither can the fact that Mauritius did not inhabit the Chagos before British ownership, if the UK pushed such issues.

    Clearly the UK has made a massive cock up by saying it will cede the Chagos Islands to Mauritius after military use as that was unnecessary.

    One of the basis for Argentina's false claim on the Falklands is because Spain garrisoned Port Louis and owned what became Argentina at the same time.Administered from South America.

    However this didn't take place post 1960 so is perhaps not relevant, but Spain is not Argentina, and Mauritius is not the UK.

    I will try and find the mercopress post that in response to a Malvanista the administration relationship between Aden and India when both in possession of the UK was mentioned.

    However the Foreign Office have made monumental gaffs especially regarding the Falkland Islands during 1960s/1970s so it is probably beyond their capabilities to recognise that if they are going to ignore the case by the UN to take the Chagos, they may as well ensure they have an improved case for sovereignty by rehoming the Chagossians (the Mauritian effort in the UN was partly as a result of the UK refusing Chagossian resettlement in November 2016).

    Again the irony is that the Chagossians want British sovereignty.

    “To attempt, at this late stage, to designate the Chagos as a BOT would simply carry no weight with the ICJ. I doubt that it would be seen as changing the situation.”

    I can't argue with this, however the UK has always been an 11th hour nation and I don't think the UK has anything to lose by changing their position, if they are likely to lose anyway.

    Dec 28th, 2017 - 06:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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