During a speech yesterday at Government House, Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, made a passing reference to her countries claims over the Falkland Islands, accusing Britain of ignoring the United Nations; ” .. our differences are only with the British government because they do not respect the United Nations,” she said.
The next two weeks are likely to be a busy time for the Argentine President and her Foreign Ministry in its attempt to convince the world both that Argentina has a genuine claim to the South Atlantic archipelago, and that Britain is refusing to honour its obligations to the United Nations.
There is an Organisation of American States conference to use as a platform for these messages, a regional meeting of the UN’s Decolonisation Committee and the annual discussion at the UN at which Fernandez is expected to make a personal appearance on June 14th in an unsubtle attempt to hijack the 30th anniversary celebrations of British victory in the 1982 Falklands War.
Argentina’s doubtful claim to the Falkland Islands is primarily based on inheriting, in 1816, the claim that was originally disputed between Spain and Britain throughout the late 1700’s. Britain eventually gained control of the whole of the archipelago in 1833, ejecting a trespassing garrison from Buenos Aires. Spain did not protest this, and eventually recognised British sovereignty in 1863.
The United Nations General Assembly has had nothing to say on the subject of the Falkland Islands since 1988. As part of the normal round of decolonisation debates held by the sub-sub-Committee known as the C24, the Falklands comes up as a question every June. The Committee is heavily biased towards American and Caribbean states and usually issues some conclusion based on the need for Argentina and Britain to negotiate. When this moves up to the parent Committee (4th Committee), these suggestions are ignored.
In a blatant attempt to shift the focus from Britain’s victory celebrations,Cristina Fernandez is expected to attend this year’s C24 meeting, usually only a venue for Foreign or junior Ministers. Britain does not attend the C24, although Falkland Islanders go every year to state their wish to remain British. Their desires are ignored by this discredited Committee.
The Falkland Islands have been British since 1765. Argentina only declared its independence from Spain in 1816. Following Argentina’s invasion of the Islands in 1982, the Government in Buenos Aires ignored a Security Council Resolution to leave. General Assembly Resolutions are not mandatory, while Security Council Resolutions are.
Updated version of the Falklands History pdf is available here – http://falklandstimeline.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/falklands-history8.pdf