The coming Friday meeting in Chile of Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with Prime Minister Gordon Brown allegedly to address the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute has had headlines’ impact in Britain.
The Monday edition of the Daily Express has an article by Political Editor Macer Hall saying that the bilateral talks (“secret discussions”) between the two leaders in the framework of the Progressive leaders summit in Santiago have sparked fears about the future of the Falklands.
The issue was picked up by the Conservative Foreign Affairs spokesperson and the Falklands veterans, although Downing Street said Mr. Brown’s agenda will be announced during the week and the Falkland Islands government representative in London expressed confidence in the UK government’s firm line, while dismissing Mrs. Kirchner’s action for “domestic consumption”.
GORDON Brown will this week spark fears that the Falkland Islands could be handed back to Argentina by holding secret discussions about the future of the territory. The Prime Minister is to have private one-to-one talks with Argentine president Cristina Kirchner – an implacable opponent of British rule over the South Atlantic archipelago – during a tour of South America.
Diplomatic sources say sovereignty is on their agenda.
The Prime Minister was last night urged by David Lidington, the Conservative foreign affairs spokesman, not to discuss the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands when he meets with the president of Argentina this week.
Mr Brown holds talks with Cristina Kirchner on Friday in Chile.
Last night, veterans warned that any move to surrender the islands to Argentina would be an insult to the memory of the 255 British service personnel who died in the 1982 Falklands War after Argentina invaded.
David Lidington, Shadow Foreign Office Minister, said: “We want good relations with Argentina, but the Prime Minister must make it very clear that the democratic rights of the Falkland Islanders must come first.
“Gordon Brown should be urging Argentina to accept the reality of the Falkland Islands’ wishes and to normalise their relations with the people there.”
Mr Brown will meet Mrs Kirchner during a conference of Left-of-centre politicians in Chile towards the end of this week.
The meeting is understood to have been arranged by diplomats in an attempt to prevent a row over the Falklands flaring at the G20 Summit in London next month. She had planned to raise the subject then.
In a chilling coincidence, her visit, on April 2, falls on the 27th anniversary of the day when Argentina seized the Falklands.
Foreign Office insiders insist the Prime Minister will not enter into any negotiations on the future of the Falklands, although they will reluctantly allow the president to raise the issue.
But any discussion of the island’s future will cause deep misgivings among both veterans and islanders.
Retired Royal Navy petty officer Derek “Smokey” Cole, chief executive of the Falklands Veterans Foundation, said: “There should not be any discussion of the sovereignty. The Falklands should stay British, that’s what the veterans want and that’s what the Islanders want.”
Mr Cole, who served aboard HMS Intrepid during the 1982 conflict and took part in the troop landings, was visiting the Falklands over the weekend to pay respects to Britain’s fallen heroes.
“We lost 255 of our comrades to keep the Falklands British, and that’s how they should stay,” he said. Any negotiations to hand the Islands to Argentina would be an “insult” to their memory, he added.
Downing Street refused to confirm or deny that Mr Brown will hold formal bilateral talks with Mrs Kirchner who insists Argentina’s rights are “inalienable”.
“We will say more about his agenda later this week,” said a Number 10 spokesman. But sources at Argentina’s foreign affairs ministry confirmed to the respected Buenos Aires newspaper La Nacion that the meeting was taking place.
Sukey Cameron, the Falkland Island government’s representative in London, was relaxed about the meeting. She said: “The British Government’s line is firm and we have no reason to suspect the Prime Minister will differ from that line. She will raise it for her own domestic consumption”.
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The world have not doubt, Malvinas are forever Argentinian.Mar 25th, 2009 - 12:51 am 0
Argentina gave up the rights the day they invaded , the UK will never give in to a nation prepared to Kill for the rights to land.Mar 29th, 2009 - 05:12 am 0
It would be quite wrong - the people who live on the islands do not want it - it will never happen - you started the war - we ended it
Sorry Juan - USA / France / Germany backed UK - your goverment at he time treated its own people with little respect - we have the rights to protect our people in the FAULKLANDS - they have rights.Mar 31st, 2009 - 11:35 pm 0
Your country took the islands by causing death and distruction - you lost the rights then - Argentina will never take back the faulklands - you should not forget that we will come back and fight to defend our land