Argentina and the Falkland Islands meet on Thursday at the UN Decolonization Committee, C24 to discuss the South Atlantic Islands sovereignty dispute, and contrary to last year when the big show was the attendance of President Cristina Fernandez, this time it will be the Falklands’ turn with the indisputable fresh results of the March referendum and their right to self-determination.
According to the Argentine media the two sides will present irreconcilable positions: Foreign minister Hector Timerman arrives with a numerous delegation that includes representatives from all political parties to emphasize the homogenous Argentine position, while the Islanders will show the results of the March 10/11 referendum, when with an overwhelming 92% turnout, 99.7% supported remaining a British Overseas Territory.
“I have no doubts that the issue of the referendum and the results will be mentioned at the UN C24 by all sides”, Mike Summers elected Member of the Legislative Assembly and who is heading the Falklands’ delegation was quoted by La Nacion.
Based on the referendum “officials from the Islands will try to open a debate on the people’s right to self determination which they have been demanding for many years by opposition to Argentina’s sovereignty claim supported by historical and territorial integrity arguments” says La Nacion.
“MLA Summers idea is that the referendum issue will be present on all sides, and it has its logic: they will try to convince C24 and most of its 28 members with the results of the referendum.”
According to Argentine sources the Falklands’ delegation could include some of the international observers who were present during the two day referendum last March, among which were lawmakers and NGO references from Mexico, Canada, Colombia and Uruguay.
La Nacion speculates that not all observers from last March will attend New York, but some will adhere. Such is the case of Uruguayan lawmaker Jaime Trobo from the opposition National party, who is not travelling but last week made a strong speech in the Lower House of Parliament in support of the referendum and the Islanders right to live a normal life.
Although not questioning Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas, Trobo said that “we cannot and should not admit blockade. We cannot admit a pejorative attitude against the people that live in those Islands. We should try to reconstruct the spirit of neighbourhood, since that will favour our own interests, and with time, it will also help solve this protracted conflict”.
With these kind of arguments the Falklands’ delegation will attempt to divide the UN C24 insisting on the right to self-determination argument.
But, says La Nacion, Argentina has been working to convince allies with political weight in the Committee such as Russia, Iraq, China and India. Timerman last weekend was in India and the previous week the Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov visited Buenos Aires. Besides the C24 has seven Latinamerican members, most of them aligned behind the Bolivarian position of full support for Argentina.
To further reinforce the Argentine position and the uniform claim over the Malvinas sovereignty Timerman has invited a wide spectrum of governors and lawmakers from all parties, incumbent and opposition.
“We’re going to demonstrate that the Malvinas referendum ratified the colonial situation of the kelpers, which contradicts the basic idea of peoples’ self determination and which they pretend to discuss. This simply goes to confirm that the Islanders are an implanted population”, said a member of the Argentine delegation in New York.