15 Jun 2012

Argentina demands talks over Falklands

As Argentina’s president demands talks with the UK about the Falkland Islands, Prime Minister David Cameron insists there will be no negotiation.

Thirty years on from the end of the Falklands war and rhetoric between Britain and Argentina is intensifying.

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez made an unusual appearance at a UN decolonisation committee on Thursday where she argued that the Falkland Islands are Argentine territory and should not be under British rule.

President Fernandez told the committee the fact that the Falklands remain under British rule and are not part of Argentina is “an affront to the world which we all dream of”.

“How can it be part of British territory when it’s 14,000 miles away?” she asked.

Fernandez, who spoke for nearly an hour, repeated Buenos Aires’ allegations that Britain has militarised the southwest Atlantic in recent months, a charge London has denied.

The decolonisation committee, known as “C-24”, adopted a non-binding resolution sponsored by a number of Latin American states that was similar to ones adopted in previous years. It calls on Argentina and Britain to enter into negotiations on the islands.

Read more: FactCheck - Why are the Falklands British?
An Argentine veteran cries during Falklands War's 30th anniversary in Pilar (Reuters)

‘No negotiation’

In a speech at the annual Falkland Islands government reception last night, Mr Cameron paid tribute to the bravery of the then prime minister Baroness Thatcher and the armed forces.

“Freedom is only won, and peace is only kept, because there are exceptionally brave people willing to travel to the other side of the world and lay their lives on the line,” he said.

“We’ve seen the president trying to restrict the movement of Falklands vessels, banning charter flights to and from Argentina and today, escalating the debate at the UN.

This is not some game of global Monopoly, with nations passing a territory between them. It’s about the islanders determining their own future. David Cameron

“In the face of this I want to be absolutely clear – this government’s long-term goal for Latin America is not bickering and hostility, it is partnership.

“We’ve been expanding our missions, sending more ministers on trade visits, increasing the number of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking diplomats.

“With Argentina in particular there are so many things we should be working together on – managing fish stocks, increasing trade, environmental issues. This is the kind of co-operation we need – and that’s why we want to have a reasonable, sensible relationship with Argentina.

“But let me be equally clear on this – when it comes to the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, there will be absolutely no negotiation.

“This is not some game of global Monopoly, with nations passing a territory between them. It’s about the islanders determining their own future.”