Alicia Castro denies Constitutional Amendment

23 May

Alicia Castro, Argentina’s Ambassador to London, has written to La Nacion denying that she made any suggestion that Argentina should amend its Constitution to allow for meaningful negotiations to start with the United Kingdom over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

Speaking recently at a London School of Economics debate entitled “UK-Argentina: Is there a way forward”, the Ambassador answered a question on the 1994 Constitutional amendment which states; ” The Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and non-prescribing sovereignty over the Falkland islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and over the corresponding maritime and insular zones, as they are an integral part of the National territory. The recovery of said territories and the full exercise of sovereignty, respectful of the way of life of their inhabitants and according to the principles of international law, are a permanent and unrelinquished goal of the Argentine people.”

The questioner had suggested that this amendment effectively precluded any negotiations as there would only be one solution acceptable to Argentina, and that this solution would not take into account the wishes of the Falkland Islanders. Alicia Castro, in her answer, appeared to suggest that the removal of this clause would be considered by her Government, and this was reported by La Nacion.

In her response to the newspaper, Alicia Castro has now denied that she made any such suggestion, claiming that the Constitutional amendment was a perfectly normal act for a country with a territorial claim, and that the British were using the clause as an “excuse” but that it ” .. cannot justify the refusal of the United Kingdom to negotiate.”

Castro also claimed that; ” Avoiding the path to a peaceful dispute settlement, the United Kingdom not only has a hostile attitude, but an illegal one.” The Ambassador appears to base this on Argentina’s interpretation of the debates in the United Nations Committee of 24, a sub-sub-Committee with responsibility for overseeing the process of decolonisation. This interpretation is a selective one as there has not been a General Assembly Resolution on the subject since 1988.


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