Argentina’s Ambassador, Alicia Castro, is expected to host the Foreign Minister’s visit next week; but plans for him to hold talks with his British counterpart, William Hague, lie in tatters. Argentina had written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office requesting a meting of the two Foreign Ministers to discuss a range of issues. Hague’s response was to welcome the opportunity with one proviso; that being a democratic country it would be unthinkable to discuss the Falkland Islands without the Islanders having their representatives present.
Timerman’s petulant response comprised a thinly veiled threat; “It is unfortunate that you reject a bilateral meeting. Your decision will surely affect Argentina’s interest in working with the United Kingdom in the G20, the UN Security Council, matters of nuclear proliferation, human trafficking, money laundering, drugs, investment, trade, human rights and many others in which both countries are active members of the international community,” before offering an invitation to the Foreign Secretary to; “.. visit Argentina and hold a bilateral meeting, so you can appreciate that our country is a true democracy where my foreign counterparts can meet freely with whomever they want without me pressuring them.”
The Argentine letter ended with a rather rudely worded; “Finally, it is not necessary for you to keep attempting to make appointments during my coming visit to London, leave that for our very efficient embassy”.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ‘Democracy Index’, Uruguay is the only true democracy in South America, with Argentina falling into the “Flawed” section. Argentina refuses to recognise that the Islanders should have any say in either talks, or indeed, their own future. The Falkland Islands’ Government, however, are putting the lie to this with a referendum in March in which the peoples of the Falkland Islanders will have the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to retain their current association with the UK.
The Falkland Islands were first claimed by Britain in 1765. Argentina has a narrow, arguably distorted, version of history upon which it rests a claim to the South Atlantic archipelago based upon an inheritance from Spain.