UN Mediation over the Falklands ?

13 Feb

In an interesting twist this morning both the Buenos Aires Herald and La Prensa newspapers have picked up on a report from Telam, the official Argentine news agency, that Hector Timerman intends to accept an offer of United Nations mediation over the Falkland Islands.

What is not clear however, is what mediation they are talking about.

On Friday Argentina’s Foreign Minister submitted a protest to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, expressing concern at what was called the ‘militarization’ of the South Atlantic. Accusing Britain of a military build up in the area, Timerman had attempted to interest the UN’s Security Council in the issue, with little obvious effect.

At the time of the presentation, Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern about the suggestion of a build-up of arms in the region, but made no formal offer of mediation. Indeed, the whole media circus appeared to be met with some indifference by the UN authorities.

The UN already discusses the issue of the Falklands within its Decolonisation sub-Committee, and its Fourth Committee, every year although there has not been a General Assembly Resolution since 1988. Britain’s position is quite clear, and all talks over the sovereignty of the Islands will be refused unless the Falkland Islanders’ themselves ask for such.

The source of this offer of mediation is unclear, although La Prensa suggests that the offer has come from Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the Chairman of the General Assembly. No official UN statement is yet available.

Sean Penn, the actor has thrown his weight behind Argentina’s campaign however, after a meeting with President Cristina Fernandez. A well-known supporter of Hugo Chavez, Penn’s support is unlikely to improve his audience amongst the Falklanders.

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