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Montevideo, January 27th 2021 - 10:35 UTC

 

 

Argentina criticizes Falklands' mines-free achievement, but is willing to share the humanitarian success

Thursday, November 12th 2020 - 09:59 UTC
Full article 29 comments
Foreign Office Minister Wendy Morton said “the removal of the mines laid during the 1982 conflict with Argentina means the UK has now met its obligations set by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Foreign Office Minister Wendy Morton said “the removal of the mines laid during the 1982 conflict with Argentina means the UK has now met its obligations set by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention
”The removal of the last mine means there are no anti-personnel mines on British soil anywhere in the world, and the Falkland Islands will mark the moment next Saturday with a special double event ”The removal of the last mine means there are no anti-personnel mines on British soil anywhere in the world, and the Falkland Islands will mark the moment next Saturday with a special double event

The Argentine government has criticized the successful eleven-year demining process in the Falkland Islands arguing it is a new “violation” of a UN resolution calling on both sides, UK and Argentina, to abstain from any unilateral action in the disputed territories.

Daniel Filmus, Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands Secretary made the comments following the announcement by the Falklands' government that finally after 38 years, since the end of the 1982 conflict, the Islands are mine free and banned spaces have been recovered and opened to the public.

Before surrendering to the British Task Force sent to recover the Falklands, Argentine forces planted an estimated 20,000 antipersonnel mines and other explosives in strategic beaches and access areas.

“For Argentina this process should have been done jointly”, said Filmus recalling that in 2001 and 2006 Argentina and the UK agreed on a feasibility study to remove the antipersonnel mines.

He added that the feasibility study was jointly presented to the Ottawa anti personnel mine Convention during its meeting in Jordan.

However in 2009, and with “no previous warning” the UK did not comply with the commitments agreed and “illegitimately” started mine clearance activities on its own without the participation of Argentina in “a clear act of violation”.

This UK attitude has been extensive “to illegal fishing, hydrocarbons exploration establishing a military base in the Islands, and now with the demining”

Filmus added that since 2009, Argentina has been presenting a formal complaint at the annual Ottawa Convention to eliminate mines, because UK has consistently ignored Argentine participation, and will do again next Monday at this year's edition scheduled to take place in Geneva..

In effect this year when UK makes the official presentation of the complete demining in the Falklands, before the Convention, Filmus revealed that “Argentina has offered the possibility of making it a joint presentation so that Argentina can also be confirmed, but we have received no reply”

“Argentina aspires that the final presentation can be done jointly, and this way comply with the humanitarian purpose of the demining”, and at the same time “UK listens to the UN resolution and the call from most countries of the world to resume sovereignty negotiations”.

However earlier this week, Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton said that “the removal of the mines laid during the 1982 conflict with Argentina means the UK has now met its obligations set by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention”.

“The removal of the last mine means there are no anti-personnel mines on British soil anywhere in the world, and the Falkland Islands will mark the moment next Saturday with the detonation of the final mine and the cutting down of fences which will finally re-open their access to beaches. Games of cricket and football will be played on the beach itself, to enjoy unrestricted access”.

Minister Morton added that “This is a huge achievement for the Islands and we must pay tribute to the brilliant team of deminers who put their lives at risk day to day removing and destroying landmines to make the Falklands safe”.

“Our commitment to ridding the world of fatal land mines does not end with our territories being mine free. A further £36 million of UK funding will allow demining projects across the world to continue, protecting innocent civilian lives”.

The demining team from Zimbabwe, with supervising staff from British companies SafeLane Global and Fenix Insight had to struggle with the Islands’ challenging physical conditions, often working in remote locations and through the unpredictable and sometimes extreme Falklands weather, to achieve the goal to rid the Falklands of mines.

The Falklands will be officially declared landmine free on the 14 November in a local celebration.

There will also be an official celebration hosted by the UK at Government House on the 17 November, where the deminers will be presented with certificates signed by Minister Morton.

Top Comments

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  • kelperabout

    The stark reality is that Argentina violated the geneva convention by laying the mines in the first place. This is just another way to try and get their false claim aired.
    If Argentina had been a decent genuine neighbour and not violated the law by invading in 1982 there would have been no mines to remove.

    We Islanders have finally had another remnant of that illegal conflict removed and once again we are proving to the world that Argentina is still the aggressor as clearly shown in this statement they have made.

    The Falkland Islands have prospered and grown since 1982 and even though Argentina still puts embargos on us to try and impede the growth they have all failed.

    The reason they are failing to enforce these embargos is that the rest of the world don't agree with the Argentine actions and continue to trade with the Falkland islands people.
    They are cutting their own noses of to spite their own faces by acting like they are.
    Look at all the potential lost trade they have bestowed upon themselves through their greed.

    Looking forward to the next 38 years of development now we are mine free.
    We have but one remaining task to do and that is repatriate all the Argentine war dead so that their families can finally get the closure they have been denied. Could take another 38 years to achieve but one day that will happen I am sure.

    Nov 12th, 2020 - 10:54 am +13
  • RedBaron

    The best remedy for Argentina's participation in the de-mining project would be to allow them to pay for all the de-mining work and pay all compensation for destroyed machinery, dead sheep, etc, killed by landmines.
    How much have they contributed so far?

    Nov 12th, 2020 - 10:45 am +10
  • Mike Summers

    Filmus was a lightweight at the negotiations in ‘99, a lightweight in the Kirchener Governments, and is a lightweight now. He seems to lack any sense of when to speak and when to keep his mouth shut. Here was a chance to celebrate a humanitarian advance, and all he can do is whinge. It is good for us they do not have anybody with more sense and more guile.

    Nov 13th, 2020 - 10:25 am +10
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