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Montevideo, September 23rd 2023 - 06:39 UTC



Official presentation of the Darwin Memorial

Tuesday, December 30th 2003 - 20:00 UTC
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British Ambassador in Argentina Sir Robin Christopher said this Monday in Buenos Aires that the Memorial to be erected in the Argentine cemetery in the Falklands to honour Argentine servicemen killed in the 1982 conflict was important for the reconciliation of the two countries.

Sir Robin together with Héctor Cisneros President of the Committee of Relatives of the fallen in Malvinas, former Argentine Army Commander and Malvinas veteran General Martín Balza, and Eduardo Eunerkian a strong financial supporter of the Memorial among others, participated this Monday in the official presentation of the monument built in Argentina and to be assembled next February in Darwin by a British company.

The cenotaph to be shipped to the Islands January 15th is made up of twelve cement and stone panels each weighing approximately fifteen tons that once assembled will hold marble plaques with the engraved names in alphabetical order of the 649 Argentines killed in the 1982 South Atlantic conflict.

Talking with the Argentine press that made an ample coverage of the event, Sir Christopher emphasized the Islanders decision to accept the monument, "?they approved it, and it's a humanitarian gesture, a very important gesture that must be recognized".

However he also pointed out that "it's a commitment that my government (UK) made in 1999. This monument will be important for the reconciliation".

Sir Christopher elegantly avoided the question regarding the presence of Argentine officials for the inauguration ceremony in Darwin expected to take place next March.

"We're still building the monument. We haven't arrived yet to the moment of inauguration, step by step?.", said the British Ambassador.

Argentine officials, (but not Argentine citizens) are barred from having the Falklands Migration seal stamped in their passports.

Héctor Cisneros stressed that the Memorial will be "best homage possible to our soldiers that will remain for ever in the Islands, that piece of our homeland that belongs to us by history and Right".

General Martín Balza was more sober and expressed his great satisfaction with the building of the Memorial. "We were long expecting a place in Malvinas where the next of kin could go and pray for their loved ones. It's a great satisfaction for all Argentines, for those of us who fought and for those who lost their loved ones in the Islands".

Mr. Cisneros also anticipated that several chartered flights with next of kin and Malvinas veterans are expected to be present at the official inauguration of the Memorial.

The Memorial has the shape of two open, embracing hands with a big white cross in the junction point. An adjoining hermit will shelter an image of the Virgin of Luján.

The presentation of the monument was done in the grounds of Ezeiza Airport that is now privately managed, --as well as most other Argentine air terminals--, by a company belonging to Eduardo Eunerkian, the Argentine tycoon who is financing most of the project. Actually Mr. Eunerkian will be covering the difference between private donations and the full cost of the project estimated in over 1,5 million US dollars.

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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