As Britain begins negotiations to hand over its other imperial remains, Buenos Aires wants the Falklands back
Argentina’s foreign ministry on Thursday asked that Britain abide by a UN resolution and resume talks over the sovereignty of the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands. The request came after London agreed to negotiate the future of the Chagos Islands with Mauritius.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Thursday that the UK wants to “resolve all outstanding issues” with Mauritius across the Chagos Archipelago, a British Indian Ocean territory since 1814 that remained under British control after Mauritius gained independence from the UK in 1968. A UN resolution ignored by London for decades forces Britain to make a settlement with Mauritius over the islands.
Guillermo Carmona, an official with Argentina’s foreign ministry, said Britain’s decision to talk to Mauritius “a transcendental day for all peoples fighting to end colonialism.”
Carmona said that just as it honors the UN resolution on the Chagos Islands, Britain “must comply with Resolution 2065 on the Malvinas issue.” The resolution in question calls on London and Buenos Aires to negotiate sovereignty over the islands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas and the UK the Falklands.
Britain has controlled the islands since 1833 and won a war over it with Argentina in 1982. However, Argentina still claims sovereignty over the archipelago, arguing that it took them from Spain when it gained independence in 1816.
While Argentina regularly calls Britain to respect Resolution 2065, the UK refuses. Britain maintains that a referendum in 2013 — in which nearly 100% of the islands’ 3,400 residents voted to remain a British Overseas Territory — renders negotiations pointless.
Friday marks the 40th anniversary of UN General Assembly Resolution 37/9, which stated that: “maintaining colonial situations is incompatible with the United Nations’ ideal of universal peace”, and called on the UK and Argentina to “find a peaceful solution” to the Malvinas/Falklands dispute.
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