Panel Asks Argentina, UK to Resume Falkland Talks
UN Panel Requests Argentina, UK to Resume Talks on Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
New York, Jun 16 2005 2:00PM
Seeking to end what it called the "special and particular colonial situation" in the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), the United Nations special panel dealing with decolonization requested the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the long-standing sovereignty dispute.
Adopting a consensus resolution without a vote, the UN Special Committee on decolonization noted the views expressed last year by Argentina's President in his address to the General Assembly, in which he urged the United Kingdom to resume negotiations. The Committee regretted that, in spite of widespread international support for negotiations, the implementation of relevant Assembly resolutions has not yet started.
But Falkland Islands Councillors John Birmingham and Stephen Luxton underlined that there was no "sovereignty" issue to discuss with Argentina – a "bullying" administration out of touch with the 21st century – and urged the Committee to concentrate in allowing the Islanders to choose their own future and exercise their right to self-determination.
Indeed, Argentina's total disregard for the view of the people of the Falklands "directly challenged" the purpose of the Committee, which was to eradicate such situations where nations sought to impose colonial rule, they said. "The Argentine Government is confusing territorial integrity with geographical proximity, added Mr. Luxton, "we have nothing in common with Argentina culturally, linguistically, historically or politically".
"The fact that Argentines are taught from a young age that the Falkland Islands have been illegally occupied by British settlers for 170 years does not make it true," said Mr. Luxton, stressing that the Islands' people were not maintaining a colonial situation, because their country was not a colony – it was an internally self-governing and largely self-sufficient British overseas territory.
Rafael Bielsa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, said the special nature of the Malvinas Islands question derived from the fact that the United Kingdom had occupied the Islands by force in 1833, ousted the Argentine population and authorities on the Islands and replaced them with settlers of British origin. Then, as now, Argentina had not consented to the acts of force that gave rise to the Malvinas question.
The international community had repeatedly urged the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations on sovereignty without delay. While his Government had repeated its willingness to negotiate, the United Kingdom had persisted in its negative attitude of rejection. The United Kingdom's refusal to resume bilateral negotiations on sovereignty delayed and hindered the decolonization process to which the Committee was devoted.
The Special Committee on decolonization, a 24-member panel that discusses the developments in the 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories and hears statements from appointed and elected representatives of the Territories and petitioners, continues its annual session at UN Headquarters in New York through the end of the month.