The member of the Falklands/Malvinas legislative assembly Phyllis Rendell on a private visit to Paraguay openly stated that the South Atlantic archipelago claimed by Argentina is a British Overseas Territory and underlined that the sovereignty issue was settled with a war between the two sides over thirty years ago.
Speaking directly and with not a shadow of doubt about the UK position regarding the Falklands, MLA Rendell was interviewed on Tuesday evening by the Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color during a reception as the British embassy in Asunción hosted by Ambassador Jeremy Hobbs.
The event was attended by diplomats, media, and representatives from the private sector but no member of the Paraguayan Executive, although some lawmakers responded to the invitation.
ABC Color explains that MLA Phyllis Rendell is an elected member of the Falklands' legislative, and the Islands are a British Overseas Territory. Its residents have the same right to British citizenship as nationals from Scotland and Wales.
MLA Rendell revealed it was not her first time in Paraguay: she visited the country some decades ago and her intention was to know how the country was moving, since we all advance.
Asked if her private visit was part of London's lobby regarding the Falklands, MLA Rendell said that the fact she is an elected member of the Islands' government gives access to certain information referred to the economy, trade, life style and above all the aspirations of the Islanders and their right to decide their future.
This must be clear to all our good neighbors, with whom we want to have normal relations.
When the reporter told MLA Rendell that Paraguay has always supported Argentina's sovereignty claim over the Malvinas, she replied that London, which is responsible for the Falklands' foreign relations is aware and understands that Latin American countries side with Argentina.
But the UK, whenever possible wants to clearly establish the true facts about the Falklands, particularly from the Islanders point of view. MLA Rendell recalled that in the March 2013 referendum, overwhelmingly, 99% of the population voted they wanted to remain as a British Overseas Territory.
”We're not going to discuss sovereignty, not with the government of (president Mauricio) Macri, or anybody for that matter. The sovereignty issue was settled and there is no room for discussions, it's British sovereignty. Sovereignty was settled in a war following the military invasion of the Islands by Argentina, the issue is over and gone insisted the elected lawmaker from the Falklands.
We're not interested of being part of Argentina. And the British government respects the people's right to self determination, as enshrined in the UN charter, despite the fact that we are a very small country. We have families that have lived in the Islands for seven, eight generations. We've had a permanent population in the Falklands since the 1830s.
Asked about the Argentine governments of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner which claimed the Malvinas aggressively, MLA Rendell replied that ''unfortunately it was very tough. They really complicated our lives.
Paraguay as a member of Mercosur, supports Argentina's sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands, as its other members, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela.