Britain prepared to fight for the Falklands

6 Jan

Reported in the Telegraph today.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the Prime Minister said troops would be deployed in the event of another attempt by Buenos Aires to re-take the islands. He made the UK’s “extremely strong” position clear after Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the Argentine president, renewed her accusations that the islands were stolen by Britain. PWRR_2PWRR_Herrick08_Ptl_410px

In an escalation of aggressive rhetoric, she took out advertisements in British newspapers claiming that the islands were forcibly stripped from Argentina in “a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism”. Her position has hardened since last year’s 30 year anniversary of the Falklands War and the discovery of potential oil resources off the coast of the islands.

Mr Cameron this morning said he would fight to keep the Falklands in the same way Margaret Thatcher launched forces to protect the islanders in 1982. Asked if Britain would defend the islands, he replied: “Of course we would and we have strong defences in place on the Falkland islands, that is absolutely key, that we have fast jets stationed there, we have troops stationed on the Falklands.”

“I get regular reports on this entire issue because I want to know that our defences are strong, our resolve is extremely strong,” he said.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly stressed the right of the Falkland Island residents to decide their own future. Earlier this week, he rejected Argentina’s claims to the Island and said if its inhabitants chose to remain British he would back them “100 per cent”.
“The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves, the people who live there,” he said, “Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom. They’re holding a referendum this year and I hope the president of Argentina will listen to that referendum and recognise it is for the Falkland Islanders to choose their future, and as long as they choose to stay with the United Kingdom they have my 100 per cent backing.”

Britain’s claim to the Falklands archipelago goes back to 1765.

51 years before Argentina declared its independence from Spain. Argentina has attempted to take the Falkland Islands by force on two previous occasions – 1832 and 1982.



The Sun burns in Buenos Aires

5 Jan

Following demonstrations in Buenos Aires where copies of The Sun newspaper were burnt; a group of the islanders, called Falklands United, responded to a letter by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner published in The Guardian and Independent newspapers in Britain, in which she called for the UK to give up the Falklands. 112
They wrote: “Our home is a British Overseas Territory, not a colony as you seemingly wish to convince people. We have never been prouder of our association with the United Kingdom and our unique relationship. Any decision to change that would be OUR and not YOUR choice. In 1982 we didn’t have a voice. In 2013 we do. We are OUR own people and we have a right to OUR own democracy and to where OUR sovereignty lies.”

An advertisement in The Buenos Aires Herald, paid for by The Sun, was a refutation of Argentina’s claim to the British archipelago; pointing out that the British claim to the Islands went back to 1765. Argentina only declared itself independent of the Spanish Crown in 1816. Argentina also claims that Britain ‘usurped’ their sovereignty by ejecting an Argentine settlement in 1833. In reality this was a ‘police’ action to expel an illegal garrison from Buenos Aires that had arrived in the Islands some two months before. Argentina had been warned by the British Government in 1829, that the Falklands were British and Buenos Aires should stay away. Argentina again tried to take the Falklands by force in 1982 leading to the Falklands War.

“Hands Off” says the Sun

4 Jan

A British newspaper has published a full page advert in Argentina, warning its President to keep her “hands off” the Falklands. Falk Flag
The Sun was responding to an open letter from Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, in which she called for the islands to come under Argentine sovereignty. 

The newspaper’s message to Ms Kirchner – printed in The Buenos Aires Herald – raises the issue of Argentina’s 1982 invasion of the islands. It mentions the 649 Argentine and 255 British servicemen who lost their lives and says the invasion was in “direct conflict” with the UN principle of self-determination. The advertisment also disputes Argentina’s claim to the islands by pointing out that British sovereignty dates back to 1765.
The advertisement concludes: “Until the people of the Falkland Islands choose to become Argentinian, they remain resolutely British. In the name of our millions of readers, and to put it another way: ‘HANDS OFF!'”
The Falklands were visited and claimed in 1765  by Commodore Byron for King George III. The following year Captain John Macbride arrived with two ships and 25 marines for the garrison. The French, who had arrived in 1764 and built a fort on East Falkland Island abandoned their claim in 1767. Spanish troops then moved into the French fort and challenged the British over the sovereignty of the archipelago. This came close to war in 1770 before Spain backed down. Spain maintained its claim until 1863 when it sent a diplomatic mission to the Falkland Islands which saluted the Union Jack.

Argentina believes that it inherited Spain’s claim

The Islanders’ Reply

4 Jan

A message from the Honourable Dick Sawle, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands.

Reported in the Telegraph

“It is disappointing that today the Government of Argentina is once again ignoring the rights and wishes of the Falkland Islands people. The open letter sent by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to David Cameron is not only historically inaccurate, but fails to mention the most significant aspect of our recent history – the attempt by the Argentine Government to take away our home by military force when they invaded thirty years ago. The people of the Falkland Islands, who for nine generations have lived and worked these lands, would like to take the opportunity to clarify some points raised by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. 420646_10150543993900878_319396170877_9166711_1140361154_n

The Falkland Islands had no indigenous population prior to their settlement by our ancestors – the Islands were unoccupied. Argentina claims the Falkland Islands form part of the province of Tierra del Fuego – an area that was not claimed as a part of the Republic of Argentina until after two generations of Falkland Islanders had been born and raised in our Islands.

There is no truth to Argentine claims that a civilian population was expelled by Britain in 1833. The people who were returned to Argentina were an illegal Argentine military garrison, who had arrived three months earlier. The civilian population in the Islands, who had sought permission from Britain to live there, were invited to stay. All but two of them, with their partners, did so.

We are not an implanted population. Our community has been formed through voluntary immigration and settlement over the course of nearly two hundred years. We are a diverse society, with people from around the world having made the Islands their home.

The UN Charter enshrines the right of all people to determine their own future, a principle known as self-determination. It is in exercising this right that we have chosen to retain our links with the UK. It is this fundamental right that is being ignored by the Argentine Government, who are denying our right to exist as a people, and denying our right to live in our home.

As a modern, self-governing Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, we enjoy a relationship based on the shared ideals of democracy, freedom and self-reliance. We are not a colony of the United Kingdom; we are a British Overseas Territory by choice, which is something entirely different. We are not governed by Britain: we are entirely self-governing, except for defence and foreign affairs. We democratically elect our Legislative Assembly Members; they are chosen by the people of the Falkland Islands to represent them and to determine and administer our own policies and legislation. In March we will be holding a referendum on our political status, so that as a people we can make our views heard in a clear, democratic and incontestable way.”

Another anniversary. Another claim to the Falklands.

2 Jan

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is today urging the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to hand over the Falkland Islands and “put and end to colonialism” in a letter to be published on the 180th anniversary of the day that Argentina alleges the UK seized the archipelago in 1833. ck1
Repeating Argentina’s distorted view of the historical events of the early 1830’s, President Kirchner claims that her country had been; “… forcibly stripped of the Falkland Islands, in a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism. The Argentines on the islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the UK subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.” 
In her letter to the Prime Minister,  Kirchner also urges the UK to abide by a Resolution adopted by the United Nations in 1965, calling for Argentina and the UK to negotiate a solution to the sovereign dispute.
The Falkland Islands were first claimed by Britain in 1765. Argentina claims that it inherited the archipelago from Spain in 1810 although the Spanish colony did not rebel against the rule of Spain’s King, Ferdinand VII, until 1816.

A small settlement was founded on East Falkland in 1826 by a German, Luis Vernet, who had arrived from Buenos Aires. Vernet had British permission to trade on the islands under the Treaty of 1825 and is known to have flown the Union Jack in 1828.

In 1829, the Government in Buenos Aires asserted a claim to the Falklands which was protested by the British Government in a diplomatic note. The garrison sent by Argentina in 1832 to seize the Falklands, was ejected on January 3rd, 1833 by a small, outnumbered, force from the Royal Navy.

In 1965 a United Nations General Assembly Resolution asked Argentina and the UK to negotiate to find a way through the issue in compliance with the UN Charter which preserves a right of self-determination for the peoples of the old colonies. The Argentine invasion of 1982 killed off that Resolution.

Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the UN recently confirmed that Britain is not in breach of any relevant UN Resolutions on the Falkland Islands.

Falklands War – files released

29 Dec

The release of hitherto secret files surrounding the 1982 Falklands War is shedding new light on the build up to that conflict between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. flakland

Released under the 30 year rule, the files show the state of negotiations between the two sides in the period between 1979 and 1982; the concerns of the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and the attempts to find a solution by Lord Peter Carrington.

Contrary to some claims, the files indicate that the British Government paid little but lip-service to the ideas of ‘lease-back’ and ‘condominium’, preferring to try to persuade Argentina of the advantages of ‘freezing’ any discussion on sovereignty, whilst concentrating on more practical matters, such as fish stocks, and oil exploration.

It is also very obvious that the Argentine Government could only see one outcome to the issue; a complete cession of sovereignty from Britain to Argentina, regardless of the Islanders’ wishes. An attitude that impeded any real negotiation. On the other hand, the British Government never wavered in its belief in the soundness of its own title to the archipelago, and never moved from a recognition that any solution could only work if the Islanders agreed to it.

This initial release will be followed by the majority of the files although a few remain redacted.

Britain’s claims to the Falkland Islands goes back to 1765. Argentina however claims to have inherited a disputed Spanish title to East Falkland in 1810.

Argentina protests over ‘Queen Elizabeth Land’

22 Dec

Argentina has formally protested Britain’s decision to name part of the British Antarctic Territory after Queen Elizabeth, as a Diamond Jubilee gift from the country. At the time of the announcement, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary said; “As a mark of this country’s gratitude to the Queen for her service, we are naming a part of the British Antarctic Territory in her honour as ‘Queen Elizabeth Land. This is a fitting tribute at the end of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee year, and I am very proud to be able to announce it as she visits the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The British Antarctic Territory is a unique and important member of the network of fourteen UK Overseas Territories. To be able to recognise the UK’s commitment to Antarctica with a permanent association with Her Majesty is a great honour.”   antarctica-queen-2_2431094c

Yesterday, the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires called in John Freeman, Britain’s Ambassador, and handed him a formal protest expressing the; ” .. strongest rejection of the claim of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, announced recently, give atoponymic name to an area of the Argentine Antarctic Sector”.

The Ministry communique also stated; “Furthermore, the Argentine Government recalls its categorical rejection of any territorial claim to British Antarctica and reaffirms its rights of sovereignty over the Argentine Antarctic Sector. …  the claim of the United Kingdom demonstrates, once more, the anachronistic imperialist ambitions in that country, which dates back to ancient practices already overcome, and does not agree with the spirit of peace and cooperation that characterizes to the The Antarctic Treaty System.”

Britain formerly claimed the sector now known as British Antarctica in 1908. Argentina only made a claim in 1943. Argentina believes that the Antarctic is an extension of South America and that it has a geographical entitlement. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 froze all sovereignty claims and prevents any more being made. It does not however prevent the naming of areas within Antarctica; a practise employed rather more by Argentina than by Britain.