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Antigua flagged vessel arrives February with Argentine Memorial

Monday, January 19th 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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An Antigua-Barbuda flagged vessel will be carrying the blocks for the Memorial in honour of the Argentine servicemen fallen during the Falklands conflict in 1982 that is to be assembled and finalized in the Argentine cemetery in Darwin, reports this Monday Buenos Aires daily La Nación.

According to Cesar Gonzalez Trejo, the attorney of the relatives of the Argentine servicemen fallen in Malvinas Commission, the organization behind the building of the cenotaph, the vessel will be leaving the port of Campana with the 200 tons load sometime between February 1 and 3, and should be arriving in the Islands five days later.

AWG Construction will be responsible for the unloading of the blocks and assembling the Memorial which according to the contract signed with the Argentines should be finished and delivered in 56 days time.

The Memorial will be transported in a non Argentine flagged vessel because that was the only condition demanded by the British government and Islanders, who support the initiative of the cenotaph, reports La Nación. British Ambassador in Buenos Aires Sir Robin Christopher has been in close contact with the Commission and with Mr. Eduardo Eunerkian, an Argentine businessman linked to the air terminal business who is helping finance the project.

Further on La Nación recalls that in spite of the current Argentine "intimidatory" attitude towards the Islands, (particularly regarding charter flights and fisheries), Councillor Mike Summers recently described the project was a "humanitarian cause".

"This is the concretion of a dream for all of us who were the initiators of this project", said Hector Cisneros president of the Commission of Relatives adding that the fact "that we're closer to making true this homage in Darwin gives us reassurances that our efforts of almost 21 years are close to becoming a reality".

As to the inauguration of the Memorial, Mr. Gonzalez Trejo estimates a massive attendance of relatives and Argentines guests invited to the ceremony, "between 800 and 1,000 people".

However Mr. González Trejo admits that there could be a problem with the invitation of Argentine officials since the Islanders will demand all passports to be stamped.

La Nacion underlines that Falklands councillors have made it quiet clear that any visitor to the Islands, official or not, would have to go through the standard immigration procedures, including the stamping of passports.

This will not be an impediment for the relatives but it could complicate things for Argentine Defence Secretary Jose Pampuro and Foreign Affairs Secretary Rafael Bielsa since if they have their passports stamped it "will mean the official recognition that the Islands are not Argentine".

Finally La Nación recalls that during the December official presentation in Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport of the Memorial to be transported to the Darwin Cemetery, Defence Secretary Pampuro suggested that a "white card" Islands access system, similar to that Applied until 1982, "could be implemented".

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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