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Montevideo, September 24th 2023 - 14:51 UTC



Uruguay Congress Falklands declaration expected first week of July; differences on the term 'usurpation'

Monday, June 27th 2022 - 10:30 UTC
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Senator Gustavo Penadés has objected to the wording of the initial declaration presented by the opposition Senator Gustavo Penadés has objected to the wording of the initial declaration presented by the opposition
President Lacalle Pou with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street President Lacalle Pou with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street

The Uruguayan parliament is expected to make a legislative declaration relative to the Falkland Islands conflict and the 40th anniversary of the war during the first week of July. The initiative was presented by the opposition catch-all coalition (Broad Front) in April, but the final decision has been delayed since the senior member of the ruling coalition which supports president Luis Lacalle Pou, does not agree with the wording.

Uruguay despite having fluid communications, connectivity and trade with the Falklands, in international forae has been supportive of Argentine claims over the South Atlantic Islands. And ex president Jose Mujica has attended several events in Buenos Aires praising Argentina's claims and indirectly recalling the heroism of the Argentine forces that invaded the Islands.

However the senior member of the current ruling coalition in the Uruguayan congress, --although with its internal differences--, has rejected the use of the phrase “British usurpation of the Islands”, and presumably wants a neutral definition, more in line with sponsoring peaceful negotiations, and avoiding more militant wording, as has been the tradition of Uruguayan foreign policy, squeezed between the two largest countries in South America.

Likewise the Malvinas islands under Spanish rule depended from the naval stockade in the port of Montevideo, which was awarded the title of “The Most Faithful and Very Re-Conquering City of Montevideo”, with defeated Union Jack flags added to its official crest, a special distinction awarded to the city by the Spanish crown for having helped defeat and expel two English invasion attempts to dominate the River Plate in 1806/07.

Furthermore there are royal Spanish edicts saying that the Montevideo naval outpost is responsible for security and guarding royal interests from the Gulf of Guinea to the Magellan Strait.

The Uruguayan congress position has been criticized by Argentine nationalist groups recalling that during May, president Lacalle Pou visited the United Kingdom for three days, having met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles at Clarence House. And even more “offensive” for Argentina's interests is that the classical post card picture of the two leaders, outside 10 Downing Street was taken on 25th May, an iconic date in the Argentine historic independence process.

The leader of the National Party bench, senior member of the ruling coalition and close ally of Lacalle Pou, Senator Gustavo Penadés objected to the terms “sustained usurpation of the Malvinas and its adjoining maritime spaces by Great Britain”, and prefers the expression “territories in dispute”, and drafted as “the need for the governments to renew sovereignty negotiations to try and find a peaceful solution,” under the framework of peace and the principles of International Law.

Argentina has also objected to the fact that Lacalle Pou during his visit to UK admitted an interest in improving commercial, investment and trade issues, which they tied to a visit by British Trade minister Ranil Jayawardena to Uruguay at the end of last year. Likewise with an understanding 'to improve defense and security cooperation mutual interests between UK and Uruguay', including training for Uruguayan armed forces, which despite Argentine suspicions of an unfriendly attitude, it must be remembered Uruguay is the main per capita contributor to United Nations peace missions in the world.

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  • Steve Potts

    No such thing as a territory being 'usurped' in the 19th century. Perhaps someone might explain this to Narnia?

    Jun 27th, 2022 - 10:09 am +2
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