After a first day of mixed results, Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman Malvinas lobbying in London is looking ahead to a more friendly, less combative two-day scenario at the Argentine embassy with the ‘Pro-dialogue’ group where he plans to promote Argentina’s Malvinas sovereignty claims that reject point blank any dialogue or the right to self determination for the people of the Falklands.
Timerman speaking to the Argentine official news agency Telam said his first day in Parliament with the UK/Argentine All Party Parliamentarian Group had been ‘very positive’ since “the meeting showed what Argentina’s message to the UK is: through dialogue situations are understood and differences can be overcome”.
“Dialogue is not only possible but necessary to resolve in a peaceful manner the dispute over the Malvinas Islands”, added Timerman following the meeting with over twenty MPs and Lords.
The minister was accompanied to the Tuesday meeting at Westminster by Ambassador Alicia Castro and the chairmen of the Argentine Senate and Lower House congressional international affairs commission, Senator Daniel Filmus and Guillermo Carmona.
However several of the MPs friends of Argentina strongly questioned the fact that the administration of President Cristina Fernandez refuses to meet or talk with the people of the Falkland Islands.
Likewise they protested when Mr Timerman reiterated Argentina would not recognize the March referendum organized by the Falklands’ government when the Islanders will decide their political status and future. Timerman argued that the Falklands’ are not a ‘colonized population’ but rather a ‘colonized territory’.
The president of the All party group MP Robin Walker insisted that the right to self determination of the Falklands’ people must be respected as well as whatever the result of the referendum.
Commons Deputy Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, demanded: “juts listen to the people who live there. Allow their voices to be heard, while Labour MP Derek Twigg went further and told the Foreign Minister; as far as we are concerned, there can be no negotiation on the issue of self-determination”.
Timerman expressed disagreement by saying that “British citizens living in the Malvinas islands are represented by the British Foreign who is in London, ‘and that is the way bilateral issues are addressed”.
“The Argentine government and the British parliament have the same objective, we dissent in the final result of the dialogue, but we have shown not only that it is possible, but necessary, insisted Timerman.
To that effect the minister revealed that the British lawmakers had accepted the invitation from their Argentine peers to continue with the discussions in Buenos Aires, which, he underlined is an entirely different attitude to that of Foreign Secretary William Hague “who refused to meet with me bilaterally, as all foreign ministers normally do” and tried to impose the presence of Falklands’ representatives.
“Nevertheless Mr Hague has also been invited to visit Argentina where he will be able to appreciate democracy, respect for human rights and for the diversity of opinions” and he will be able “to hold meetings with me and with any group he wishes because when a Foreign minister visits Argentina we don’t impose conditions”.
Senator Filmus said that Timerman represents “all political forces in Congress” and Argentina’s claim over the Malvinas is supported by over forty UN resolutions. He also explained at the meeting that all Latin America and Caribbean lawmakers plus the Euro-Latinamerica Parliamentarian Assembly which recently met in Chile are in support of dialogue and a peaceful, fair and lasting solution to the dispute.
On Wednesday morning Minister Timerman will make the opening speech at the meeting in the Argentine embassy of the 18 European groups Pro-dialogue in the Malvinas question that includes politicians, academics, writers and journalists from 18 different EU countries.
Following Timerman’s speech, historian Federico Lorenz will address the forum, and after him UK writer and historian Richard Gott. A first draft of the Declaration calling for dialogue will be presented and in the afternoon International Law Professor Marcelo Kohen retakes the round of speeches followed by petitioner Alejandro Betts. Finally Mr Gott will head a panel on “Media actions to promote dialogue”.
Thursday takes off with Professor Alexis Litvine and a discussion panel on ‘Academic activities to promote dialogue”. Ambassador Castro closes the event with a brief note and the distribution of Malvinas related literature among participants.