By Pearl Rimon
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The British Foreign Secretary William Hague, has accused the Argentine government of “bullying” and intimidating behavior towards residents of the Falkland Islands. The Falkland Islands are under British rule but Argentina has disputed since 1945. In June 2012, the Falkland Islands announced they would hold a referendum on its sovereignty status, scheduled for the upcoming month.
The Argentine government has refused to recognize the existence of the Falkland Islands, and refers to the islands as the Malvinas. The Argentine Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman refused a meeting with Hague due to the government not recognizing Falkland Islanders’ existence. Timerman held a press conference during his London visit and said “The Falklands islanders do not exist. What exists is British citizens who live in the Islas Malvinas. The United Nations does not recognise a third party in the conflict. It says there are just two parts – the UK and Argentina.”
The Falkland Islands have shown signs that they want to remain under British rule and reject Argentina’s sovereignty claim. Hague said “This is a community that is nearly 200 years old. They seem very determined to remain British. If there’s any chance they would change their minds, the approach by Argentina is completely counterproductive.
It only fortifies the islanders’ determination to stay British. It is only going to add to the decades and centuries that the Falklands will remain British.”
Timerman withdrew from a scheduled talk with Hague last week after Hague demanded that residents from the islands be represented in the sovereignty discussion. Timerman called the suggestion an ultimatum.
In response to Timerman’s withdrawal, Jan Cheek, representative of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, said “We are disappointed, but hardly surprised. Argentina prefers to disregard our existence, rather than engage constructively with the people who have lived on the Falkland Islands for so many generations.”
Argentina considers people born in the islands to be Argentine citizens. Timerman guarantees that due to this status islanders have “all the social, civil, economic, political rights as any Argentinean citizens born in continental Argentina.”
Argentina’s claim for sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is led by their President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
For further information, please see:
BBC News — William Hague: Argentina bullying Falklands – 10 Feb 2013
Voice of Russia — New outbreak of Falkland Islands (Malvinas) war – 8 Feb 2013
Sky News — Argentina: Falklands Islanders ‘Don’t Exist’ – 6 Feb 2013