The United Kingdom has no doubt about the principal and the right of the Falkland Islanders to self determination as enshrined in both the UN charter and Article one of both UN covenants of Human Rights, said British representative Barrister Margaret Purdasy, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
By virtue of which the Falkland Islanders have freely determined their political status and are free to pursue their economic, social and cultural developments, added Ms Purdasy in reply to a previous statement from the Argentine representative Victoria Gobbi.
There can be no dialogue on sovereignty unless the Falkland Islanders themselves so wish and the Islanders through the 2013 referendum have sent a very clear message that they do not want a dialogue on sovereignty. The Government of Argentina should respect those wishes.
In 2013, a referendum asking whether the Falkland Islanders supported the continuation of their status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, prompted an almost unanimous response from the island's inhabitants. On a turnout of 92%, an overwhelming 99.8% voted to remain a British territory, with only three votes against.
Argentina's representative Ms Gobbi had argued that resolutions on the Falkland Islands by the General Assembly and the Decolonization committee “recognize there is a dispute of sovereignty of the Islands between Argentina and the United Kingdom”.
She added: ”They recognize that these are the only two parties in the dispute and the way to solve the dispute is through resuming bilateral negotiations in order to as quickly as possible find a fair and peaceful solution.
However UKs Ms Purdasy immediately reacted: I must respond to the statement made by the delegation of Argentina a few moments ago during the general comments made by all observer states, and pointed out that the United Kingdom has no doubt over its sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and their surrounding maritime areas.
The exchange in Geneva comes a few weeks after a joint statement between Argentina and the UK in which both countries expressed their coinciding interests in developing constructive relations, but which also included a chapter of the South Atlantic and has triggered in Argentina.
Last month Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan in what was the first official visit to Argentina since 2009 of a UK top official, participated in a business and investment forum in Buenos Aires, when the joint statement was released.
During the two-day visit Mr. Duncan held a round of contacts and met with Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra, Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Foradori, Senate president Federico Pinedo and cabinet chief Marcos Peña.
This is a positive time for the relationship between the UK and Argentina. Our countries have a shared history and many deep links in culture and language. I hope this visit will help take a step forward together said Duncan at the time.
Argentina has the world’s 25th largest economy and there are many areas where our countries can increase ties. I look forward to seeing how British businesses can harness the commercial opportunities in Argentina at the Business and Investment Forum.
However Mr. Duncan was also politely emphatic, of course, our commitment to the rights of the Falkland Islanders is clear and will not change, and we will continue to support them as they look to develop their economy.”