Alicia Castro, Argentina’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, is quoted yesterday as saying that tri-lateral talks over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is “unthinkable,” and that next month’s referendum on the Islands, “.. has the spirit of a publicity campaign, with no legal effect on the sovereignty dispute”.
“In 1985 the UN told the UK that a referendum of that kind would not be recognized by that body… Trying to incorporate into the dialogue a government from the Islands which is not recognized is unthinkable: dialogue is bilateral, UK and Argentina”.
Speaking in London the Ambassador went on to accuse the British Government of, “militarizing” the South Atlantic which presented a “risk.”
The reference to 1985 is rather new in Argentina’s often narrow interpretations of historical events. Following the Falklands War in 1982, the United Nations were concerned that the two combatants, Britain and Argentina, were not prepared to renew diplomatic relations. As a result of this concern, and recognising that the South Atlantic archipelago was the object of Argentina’s invasion in April 1982, the General Assembly issued a Resolution every year until 1988 calling for negotiations. Diplomatic relations were re-established in 1989 – although Falklands sovereignty was not discussed.
During the course of the debate preceding the 1985 Resolution, Britain suggested amendments to reinforce the Islanders’ right to self-determination. Argentina, which laid greater emphasis on territorial integrity, argued that a reference to the Charter’s enshrined right of peoples to self-determination, would bias any negotiations against their claim. There was no mention of a referendum.
The amendments were not accepted although subsequent statements from the UN’s General Assembly continue to assert the right to self-determination of all peoples which, following the ICJ’s Kosovo decision, is now recognised as superior to “territorial integrity.” Argentina refuses to recognise the Kosovo decision.
Last year, the Secretary-General of the United Nations confirmed that the UK was not in breach of any UN Resolutions and since that time, the Argentine Government has concentrated on the 1985 Resolution; ignoring the others. Britain first claimed the Falklands in 1765 whereas Argentina claims that the British kicked them off the islands in 1833.