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For peace and reconciliation, we need talks on Las Malvinas

Thursday, June 14th 2012 - 17:13 UTC
Full article 41 comments
Alicia Castro is Argentine Ambassador to the UK Alicia Castro is Argentine Ambassador to the UK

By Alicia Castro - Today marks the 30th anniversary of the end of the war in the South Atlantic, but the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the UK goes back 179 years. It dates from the time that Great Britain – in much the same way it invaded Buenos Aires in 1806 and 1807 without success – invaded and took the Malvinas by force in 1833. In this lengthy historical process, the events of 1982 are the most regrettable.

The military junta that ruled Argentina at the time abandoned negotiations and started a war as a vile attempt to win people's favour and cling to power. Nowadays, a democratic Argentina repudiates the war and prosecutes those responsible for the crimes committed.

Today, our President attends the meeting of the UN Decolonisation Committee, the body that specifically deals with 16 pending colonial situations, including the “Malvinas/Falkland Question”. The international community – through the UN and other multilateral fora – has urged both countries to resume negotiations. So this is what my country asks: that the UK enters into negotiations with us over the future of the islands.

Britain's excuses for not negotiating are unfounded. They cannot hide behind the so-called self-determination of the islanders when no UN resolution has recognised such a right, unlike cases in which the principle is applicable in the context of decolonisation. This is a special case that involves a colonial territory, not a colonised population; its inhabitants are not the original people of the islands. It is a population installed by Britain after 1833. There are only 1,339 inhabitants who were born in the islands. And more than 1,500 soldiers. Is it rational that the “wishes” of this population obstruct the relations and understanding between two countries and two regions?

We are committed to respecting the islanders' interests and way of life. They are British and proud to be so; we respect their Britishness and identity. We are willing to offer safeguards to preserve their way of life. It is in their own interest to improve links with mainland Argentina. Geography and common sense dictate the need for negotiation.

Latin America has expressed as a single voice in support of Argentina's claim. If the UK wishes to build a stronger relation with our region, it has to make a political gesture and listen to the calls for negotiation by the international community.

The trauma left by the conflict on both countries requires a solution by a genuine reconciliation. The only victory that can ever be celebrated will be that on the day when our respective nations sit down at the negotiation table to the benefit of peoples of both parties. War should not be celebrated. The only way of honouring the fallen from both sides is to strive for peace and reconciliation.

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  • Britninja

    *Groan* Give it a rest Ginge.

    Jun 14th, 2012 - 05:23 pm 0
  • Tabutos

    moan all you want :) self determination will win and i cant wait till your proved wrong

    Jun 14th, 2012 - 05:29 pm 0
  • googer62

    Lady, I will not be letting you or anyone else have an inch on my country and if you are really, truly, up for reconciliation then lets start hearing you say that you respect our wishes and our right to self determination. We actually have no need of Argentina, you have nothing we need as can be seen by the fact the we are growing and prospering in spite of decree 256 (attempted blockade on shipping) and all of your governments other measures. Judging by what I see emanating from your country I honestly believe you would be better off concentrating on avoiding the looming crisis and helping your people before carrying on moaning and wailing about something that never was, isn't now and never will be Argentine.

    As a footnote, I spotted a comment under an piece in an Argentine paper that was reporting the wailing's coming from BA about our referendum and it went something along the lines of “isn't it funny that the Islands are the only part of Argentina that is peaceful, prosperous and doesn't have corruption”

    Jun 14th, 2012 - 05:31 pm 0
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