The Argentine Congress in extraordinary sessions held on Wednesday in both Houses unanimously rejected the Falkland Islands referendum in which the local population overwhelmingly decided to remain as a British Overseas Territory.
The Senate resolution “rejects the vote in the Malvinas by the Islanders” since they are “settlers implanted in the Malvinas Islands”.
The statement said “the referendum distorts the true juridical situation” of the Islands and recalls that UN records indicate that “it excludes any principle of self-determination” in the case.
In stronger terms the Lower House of the Argentine congress “energetically rejects the ballot” because it is a unilateral and illegitimate action, contrary to what is established in the UN resolutions, and thus with no international law consequences.
In a second paragraph it ratifies the position expressed by the Argentine congress in the Ushuaia Declaration regarding rejection of British colonialism in the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime spaces”.
Among the speeches in the Senate which had a greater impact was that of Senator Damiel Filmus, chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee and belonging to the ruling coalition, who said the (Falklands’) vote was an “exercise of self satisfaction” and quoted a column from The Guardian which stated that “the only thing new we know is that there are three inhabitants in the Islands who do not agree” with British sovereignty.
“The excuse of the 1982 conflict can’t be used to deny negotiations with Argentina”, said Filmus who then warned that the UK plans to project its occupation of the Falklands onto the Antarctica territory, which boils down to “an aggression for the entire region”.
Opposition members both in the Senate and the Lower House supported both motions.
A couple of hours later the Lower House approved a strong declaration.
Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Guillermo Carmona said that Britain’s attitude “is provocative with much to do with the context since during the last year the Argentine position collected support from South American countries, Caribbean, Africa and G7”.
“The actions from the British government have a clear absurd condition in so far it asks the citizens of a country if they want to continue being part of an Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic”, said Carmona.
However the discussions despite the unanimous spirit were not harmonious when a recess was requested to listen to the words of the new Pope, Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina and which was rejected by the members from Cristina Fernandez majority grouping.
The incident ended in a shouting contest and exchange of coarse language since the request for the recess meant suspending homage ceremony to former president Hugo Chavez.
Finally a statement in support of the new pope was agreed expressing “pride, emotion and satisfaction with the naming of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as head of the Catholic Church”.