Argentina's historic claim on the Falkland Islands is “legitimate and irrevocable,” President Mauricio Macri said on Tuesday, April 2nd. at a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the 1982 South Atlantic conflict with Britain.
Commemorative events were being held throughout Argentina to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the war, when Argentina's then-ruling military dictatorship sent troops to invade the South Atlantic archipelago
The claim to the sovereignty of the Malvinas islands is a legitimate and irrevocable claim, which unites all Argentines beyond our differences, Macri said in a speech to Malvinas Families and veterans in the presidential residence in Olivos, Buenos Aires.
Macri, who contrary to his predecessors has forged a more moderate approach to Britain, said Argentina intended to push its claim by using the tools of dialogue, confidence building and trust and respect for international law.
The ceremony was attended by relatives of soldiers fallen in the conflict, Malvinas veterans and government officials. In Argentina April 2nd is remembered as the Malvinas War Fallen and Veterans Day.
It's a long process but the best way to honor those fallen in the conflict, which ended on 14 June 1982 with the surrender of the Argentine forces is to demonstrate that the battles they fought were not in vain
The president added, we are here to honor the hundreds of fathers, sons and friends which the war 37 years ago took from us. Remembering them fills with sadness and pain, but the homage also invites us to reflect, to think about the challenges we have ahead of us as a country, as a nation.
Macri also recalled that his government addressed the historic debt with the families of the combatants which has been to identify the 122 unmarked graves with the simple reading,
Argentine soldier, only known upon God at the military cemetery in Darwin. So far only ten remain to be identified and given a full name.
The identification process has been done in the framework of the Humanitarian project undertaken by the International Committee of the Red Cross, based on an understanding reached by
Argentina, UK and Falklands' consent in 2016. The exhumation of remains and reburial allowed for DNA samples to be checked with those of relatives of combatants unaccounted for.
Also attending the ceremony at the Olivos residence was General Bari del Valle Sosa, currently Armed Forces Chief of Staff and a Malvinas veteran, who said the fallen in the conflict are part of the select group of men and women which the motherland has reserved for as our heroes.
As a war veteran, the feeling of those days remains intact, proud of the actions we undertook in combat, sadness for the comrades that never returned and for those who have left us since then, emphasized the general.
The 74-day conflict claimed the lives of 649 Argentine troops, 255 British forces and three Falklands' civilians. It ended with Argentina's surrender on June 14, 1982.
Some 500 Argentine ex-combatants have committed suicide in the years since, according to a support group, the Malvinas Combatants Association for Human Rights.
Among the events in Argentina, a Malvinas Vigil was held in Rio Grande, a strategic staging centre for Argentine forces, 2,800 kilometers south of Buenos Aires and 579 kilometers west of the Falklands.
Players in Argentina's Superliga held a minute's silence before their matches at the weekend.