Argentine Foreign Affairs minister Jorge Taiana said on Thursday that there has been progress in creating the “political and diplomatic conditions” for the United Kingdom to understand the need for negotiations on the Falkland Islands sovereignty.
We are advancing towards creating political and diplomatic conditions so that finally the United Kingdom understands that it must comply with United Nations mandates and sit down to negotiate with Argentina, Taiana said in a interview with a Buenos Aires radio station.
Taiana added that this year the reaction from the UN Security Council “has been very committed and positive”, and recalled it was the first time the “council has expressed publicly” on the issue.
He added that the United Kingdom must abide UN resolutions, particularly taking into account that it is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council and therefore “among those with the greatest responsibilities”.
Taiana said that his recent visit to the UN had much to do with the “mandate extended to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by the General Assembly and the council” to begin good offices actions so that UN resolutions are followed by both countries (Argentina and the UK) and sovereignty negotiations can begin.
“For the last two/three years we have been in talks with the Secretary General. He has been receptive, but obviously to advance you need the support from both sides. From our side our willingness to sit and talk is very clear”, said the Argentina official.
Taiana said that the UN Secretary General has growing and better information “about all that is happening and above all about the unilateral actions from Britain”.
Relations between Argentina and the UK have strained lately particularly since the beginning of a round of exploratory drilling for hydrocarbons in the Falklands waters by several British and Australian companies.
Argentina made a formal complaint before the UN and even requested US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to encourage a dialogue between both countries over the disputed islands in the South Atlantic.
Argentina considers that the oil companies are in violation of its sovereignty over the Islands and adjoining waters, and has even imposed restrictions on vessels travelling to the Falklands.
London’s position all along has been that the UK has no doubts about British sovereignty over the Falklands, that the Islanders have the right to self-determination and to explore and exploit resources in Falklands’ territory and waters.
The latest British official to ratify such a policy was Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant who visited Chile to deliver relief aid and funds to earthquake victims and for the inauguration of President Sebastian Piñera on March 11, a week ago.
“We are prepared to talk, debate with Argentina on many issues, but not sovereignty over the Falklands. We have no doubts about our sovereignty, if not we would be involved in international lobbying. And since there are no doubts we do not need any lobbying and we don’t want to raise our voice”, said Bryant interviewed by El Mercurio from Santiago.
He added it was the elected government of the Falklands that issued the licences for the exploratory drilling round, and since “we are convinced of their right to self determination, we believe they have all the legal right to explore for oil, and also to exploit hydrocarbons if there are any”.
“We are most sure about our legal position regarding sovereignty over the Islands, and the Falklands government is very sure about what they are doing exploring for oil” emphasized Bryant.
Finally the FO official said that according to the Lisbon Treaty, “the Falklands are part of the United Kingdom” and regarding Latinamerican support for the Argentine claim, Bryant pointed out that “it was not the first time for such a support, it’s the fifth, sixth, seventh time…it’s only normal”.
“We’re not interested in fighting with Argentina. We are working together in many things with our good close Argentine friends such as efforts against non proliferation of nuclear weapons, climate change, the global financial problems”, concluded Bryant.