Friday, 17 June 2011

Argentina calls UK 'arrogant' over Falklands

Fernandez: "We are going to get the Falklands back"
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has called Britain “arrogant” for refusing to negotiate on the Falkland Islands.

She was speaking the day after the UK's Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated the UK's stance in answer to a question from Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell during prime minister's questions on 15th June.

Cameron said “as long as the Falkland Islands want to be sovereign British territory, they should remain sovereign British territory – full stop, end of story.”

Rosindell had asked Cameron to remind US president Barack Obama that “the British government will never accept any kind of negotiations over the South Atlantic archipelago.”

Fernandez described Cameron's comments as an “expression of mediocrity, and almost of stupidity.”

She said the British “continue to be a crude colonial power in decline.”

The Falklands, which have been a British territory since 1833, have been subject to competing claims since the nineteenth century, however most Falkland islanders wish to retain British sovereignty, and the UK defeated an Argentine invasion of the islands in 1982.

US support for the British position has long been crucial to its ability to maintain control, but there are now signs that the US's position is changing.

Last week, Washington, through the Organization of American States (OAS), called on Britain and Argentina to negotiate over the islands's sovereignty, and crucially called the islands by their Argentinian name, the Malvinas.

Writing in the Daily Mail, British Admiral Sandy Woodward highlighted the importance of American support and argued that the British position in the Falklands had become “perilously close to being indefensible.”

"Twenty-nine years ago today, we re-claimed the Falklands for Britain in one of the most remarkable campaigns since the Second World War. The simple truth is without aircraft carriers and without the Americans we would not have any hope of doing the same again today."

The US, however, has been shifting its support in favour of Argentina for some time. In early 2010 the Obama administration made it clear that it would endorse calls for talks over the islands. This was reinforced in March 2010, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, at a press conference in Buenos Aires, that she agreed with Argentina that two nations should “sit down and resolve the issues between them.”

The US has also backed OAS documents calling for talks last June, and then again recently at an OAS meeting in El Salvador.

This week, a British man became the first Falkland islander to choose Argentinian citizenship. James Peck, whose father was killed fighting on the British side during the 1982 conflict, was presented with an identity card by Fernandez.

Sources: BBC, Daily Mail, Guardian, The New American

For more information, please see the Menas Borders website, here.

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