As a “matter of courtesy” on Friday UK ambassador in Uruguay Faye O'Connor informed her Argentine peer, Alberto Iribarne that in the coming agribusiness show in Prado 2021 the Falkland Islands will have a stand.
We communicated as a matter of courtesy, said Ambassador O'Connor about the telephone call reported in the Uruguayan media.
The official inauguration of the Prado Rural Show is scheduled to take place next Friday, 10 September, and Argentina has complained in past shows about the presence of a Falkland Islands stand in the show despite the fact it is normally in the British Pavilion.
Despite the differences over the Falklands Islands sovereignty, Ambassador O'Connor said that UK and Argentina are enormous allies. We collaborate with Argentina. We are allies in many issues, such as responsible diplomatic relations and when we can collaborate, we collaborate. For example last week we had a conversation at the ministerial level on climate change. We value very much collaboration and relations with Argentina. But as happens with some diplomatic relations, there are issues in which we are not in agreement, and the Falklands is one of them, pointed out the UK ambassador.
We have always insisted that the Islanders have a right to self-determination. There was a referendum in 2013 in which 99,8% of Islanders said they wanted to remain as a British Overseas Territory. But they stand in the Expo Prado has nothing to do with that or the issue. It refers to relations between Islanders and Uruguay in terms of trade, agriculture and tourism, links which have existed for many years. Many Islanders at one time came to the British Schools in Uruguay for their education. The same can be said about links in agriculture which is the purpose of the Expo Prado. Private sectors links about sheep breeding, wool. We want to continue talking with partners, with the people who work, in a very technical and practical manner.
Ambassador O'Connor insisted that this has nothing to do with political issues. We do not pretend to change Uruguay's position in the issue or that of Argentina. We simply want to give Islanders the possibility of continuing to talk with their Uruguayan partners that already exist
We are not interested in increasing the temperature on the issue or any tension that may exist. Argentina has its position, The UK has its position and Uruguay has its position. And it is not our interest to change any of that, but just let the Islanders continue negotiating with partners of many years. And I hope all can respect that, concluded the UK ambassador.
Earlier in the week, the ambassador visited two of Uruguay's counties, Rio Negro and Soriano, and the big news was that the official Jaguar got stuck in the mud and friendly farmers had to tug it out with a tractor in the middle of a stormy day.
In Soriano, she visited a school at Altos del Perdido, founded in the XIX century by British brothers Charles and George Drabble, and was impressed by the long-standing links with the UK, and the Uruguayan rural schools' education system.
Finally, she met with the elected mayors from the two counties, particularly in Rio Negro, and the capital Fray Bentos, which was the brand name of tinned meat supplied to the British soldiers during the two great wars.