Timerman refuses to accept Islanders letter

5 Feb

The following is the text of a letter Hector Timerman, Argentina’s Foreign Secretary, refused to accept from the members of the Falkland Islands Government in London yesterday. Minister Timerman is visiting London in an attempt to get some dialogue going over the future of the Falkland Islands but refuses to acknowledge the Islanders’ right to be involved in their own future. British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, had already accepted Timerman’s invitation to talk when the Argentine Foreign Minister withdrew after being told that representatives from the Islands would be present. The text is as follows:

Dear Mr. Timerman,
 
The Hon Jan Cheek MLA and I are disappointed not to be meeting with you in London, as we had offered. Your Government says that all it wishes to do is to talk. Yet when the opportunity arises, you refuse.
 
There is no reason to be afraid of sitting down with Falkland Islanders. Previous Argentine Governments have done so. In the twenty-first century democracies like ours should be able to discuss our differences in a reasonable and constructive way. The Falkland Islands people have never sought conflict or confrontation with Argentina. On the contrary, we favour cooperation and peaceful co-existence. There are many important issues that we can both usefully address together.
 
Falkland Islanders can trace their heritage back through nine generations. Though we value our links to the United Kingdom, we are our own community, free to determine our political future.
 
We believe that the referendum next month will make it very clear that we do not wish to be ruled by Argentina. Please understand that no amount of harassment and intimidation by your Government against our Island community will change this fact. Indeed, the more you press us, the harder will be our resolve. It is not tenable for you to ignore us.
 
We know that Argentina has an uncompromising narrative on the history of our Islands. It is not a history that we recognise, or which we believe is substantiated by the archives of our respective governments. I am enclosing a new publication that our Government has just produced, explaining the history of the Falkland Islands from the people who call it their home. I hope you find time to read it; we are publishing a Spanish version in the next few weeks.
 
We ask you again to reconsider your refusal to speak with us. We remain happy to meet with you at your convenience.
 
Yours sincerely
 
The Hon Dick Sawle MLA

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