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Chile prepares for “crossed pressures” on the Falklands’ conflict 30th anniversary

Monday, January 16th 2012 - 07:18 UTC
Full article 64 comments
Ambassador Bejamin and Minister Timerman have been busy ringing the Chilean Foreign Affairs ministry Ambassador Bejamin and Minister Timerman have been busy ringing the Chilean Foreign Affairs ministry

The Chilean Foreign Affairs ministry has been very busy doing a complete review of norms and of maritime traffic and international trade agreements in the event of what are considered growing pressures from Argentina to establish a sort of “regional blockade” against the Malvinas Islands, a UK Overseas Territory.

According to a report in La Tercera from Santiago, the Chilean diplomatic service, based on some clear signals, anticipates that Buenos Aires this year will be launching a major offensive against the UK, given the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Argentine military invasion of the Falklands which triggered the 74 day conflict. “A commemoration which awakens great expectation in Santiago”, says La Tercera.

In this context, Chile will come under strong crossed pressures from Buenos Aires and London. For example last September President Cristina Fernandez addressing the UN General Assembly said that if the UK does not “in a prudential set of time” sit to talk about Malvinas sovereignty, she would be forced to review some agreements like the one signed by Argentina and the UK in 1999 “which decided the resumption of a regular weekly flight of Lan Chile between Punta Arenas and Malvinas with a monthly call at Rio Gallegos (Argentina)”.

“Santiago will be summoned to support or reject the Argentine decision” say some Chilean diplomats. So far the administration of President Cristina Fernandez only has eliminated a subsidy for tickets. And the UK ambassador in Chile, Jon Benjamin has made informal consultations to Lan Chile to know if the airline was ready to keep flying to the Falklands, one of the very few links of the Islands with the continent.

Chilean and British sources indicate that the “crossed pressures” scenario already is in place. Last December Argentina managed the support from Mercosur members, including Chile to bar from regional ports Falklands’ flagged vessels. This immediately triggered consultations from Ambassador Benjamin who transmitted London’s disappointment.

Last week Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Mercosur countries made a commitment to London not to advance in the blockade of the Islands. This had an immediate reaction from Buenos Aires and Foreign Affairs minister Hector Timerman rang his peers requesting a public signal of support for Argentina. In the case of Chile there was a ratification of the barring of Falklands’ flagged vessels.

However Chilean diplomats say that this last gesture is just “testimonial” of Santiago’s traditional support to Argentina’s claim over the Falklands. Quite simple: if the vessels lower their flag and change it for the original red ensign, they can dock and operate in Chilean coasts and ports.

In Chile’s Foreign Affairs ministry they admit it would be very hard to say “no” to Argentina since for years the official policy has been to improve relations, which contrasts with what happens to the north with Bolivia and Peru. Nevertheless the decision that seems to be consolidating in the event of such pressures is that there are “no spaces” to continue advancing towards tougher measures against the Malvinas.

“We will keep strictly to the ‘book’ to norms and regulation of the World Trade Organization”, the diplomatic sources confided to La Tercera adding that maybe Buenos Aires won’t risk asking for supports it might not receive.

Last but not least Chile is anxiously waiting for the release and disclosure in the UK of secret documents (thirty years time limit) relating to the ample support from the Augusto Pinochet regime to London in the eighties, and during the conflict with Argentina.

Although this could be another complicating ingredient for the already difficult situation, from Buenos Aires it has been anticipated they will not resurrect bills from the past to the current administration of President Sebastian Piñera, concludes the piece in La Tercera.

Top Comments

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  • ElaineB

    So, diplomatic sources in Chile are confirming they will not break any international laws - the consequeces of which would be far greater than upsetting their irrational neighbours - and warn Argentina not to ask them to do so. Thus Argentina can avoid a humiliting refusal.

    Interesting and well played by Chile.

    Jan 16th, 2012 - 10:07 am 0
  • Viscount Falkland

    Chile realise that they are doing alot of the business that Argentina is losing and are currently laughing all the way to the bank.CFK is having her backside gently wiped with a wetwipe ! LOL

    Jan 16th, 2012 - 10:43 am 0
  • GeoffWard2

    No, Visc., Chile is just reminding Argentina that it intends to be scrupilous in its application of international laws.
    If this is analagous to wet-wiping CFK's bunda, then Chile is saying 'don't ask me to clean you up, do it your self'.

    Jan 16th, 2012 - 11:38 am 0
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