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20 Jan, 2023 08:38

Argentina urges dialogue with Britain on disputed islands

Buenos Aires and London have been at odds over the Falkland Islands for almost 200 years
Argentina urges dialogue with Britain on disputed islands

Argentine Defense Minister Jorge Taiana has called upon London to engage in dialogue with Buenos Aires and finally settle the issue of the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands, which Britain calls the Falklands and considers part of its overseas territory.

Taiana made yet another offer to negotiate to the UK on Thursday during a departure ceremony for peacekeepers heading on a UN mission to Cyprus, which remains split after Turkey sent its forces to the island in 1974 in response to a coup backed by the Greek government.

The mission will “demonstrate the commitment of Argentina to the multilateral system of the UN,” the minister told the troops at El Palomar Airport outside Buenos Aires.

“We believe in international law, we believe in the peaceful settlement of disputes and that’s why we ask for dialogue so that the British finally sit down to talk about the sovereignty dispute in the Malvinas,” Taiana said.

The Falklands are an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, around 500km (310 miles) east of Argentina’s shores. Britain has administered the islands since 1833, and won a ten-week armed conflict with Argentina over them in 1982.

However, Buenos Aires still considers the islands to be part of its territory, arguing that it received the land when Argentina won its independence from Spain in 1816.

UN General Assembly Resolution 2062 of 1965 recognizes the dispute between Buenos Aires and London and calls upon the sides to find a solution.

However, the document is non-binding. The UK insists that a referendum held in 2013, in which almost the entirety of the archipelago’s population of 3,400 voted to remain a British overseas territory, renders any discussion pointless.

During his Christmas speech last month, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reaffirmed London’s support for “self-determination” for the islanders. “Let’s join together in raising a toast to His Majesty King Charles III, and to your place in our great British family,” Sunak said regarding the Falklands/Malvinas.