Argentina demands talks with Britain over Falklands

27th June 2014, Comments 0 comments

Argentina's foreign minister demanded Thursday at the United Nations direct, bilateral talks with Britain over the Falkland Islands, the rocky archipelago claimed by both countries.

The islands in the South Atlantic have been ruled by Britain since 1833 but Argentina claims them as their own and in 1982 attempted to seize control in a brief but bloody war.

Tensions have resurfaced between the two countries in recent years after Britain opened the area to oil exploration.

"What the United Nations has been asking since 1982, year after year, is the resumption of negotiations between the two sides," Hector Timerman said at the UN Special Committee on Decolonization, which unanimously approved its 46th resolution on the issue.

"The refusal of Britain to fulfill its obligation to negotiate with Argentina is the antithesis of the founding principle of the United Nations."

He said Buenos Aires was committed to exploring "all possible avenues to achieve the peaceful settlement of the dispute."

Timerman lamented Britain's absence at the meeting, for the fourth year running, saying it indicated a lack of interest in solving the dispute.

And the foreign minister discounted a vote by residents of the island chain in favor of remaining part of Britain, saying Argentina "has no problem with their nationality, but the fact that Britain occupies an Argentine territory is against International Law."

In the March 2013 referendum, 99.8 percent of the islanders voted to remain a British overseas territory.

Falklands residents at the meeting gave speeches insisting they were "happy with the current status and don't want to change it."

"We would be delighted to have friendly and normal relations with all our neighbors, but instead Argentina does not accept us as a people and refuses to deal directly with our government," said Falklands official Mike Summers.

The UN resolution called for a "peaceful, negotiated solution," urging talks to resume "as soon as possible."


© 2014 AFP

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