‘Waste of time!’ Falklands row erupts as Argentina told to drop ‘bellicose’ threats

Falklands: Former Argentine senator calls for fresh talks with UK

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Andrew Rosindell, who is chairman of the British Overseas Territories All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) spoke out after remarks by Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s Secretary of Affairs pertaining to the Malvinas, accused the UK of “usurping” the Falklands and “plundering” its wealth, with Alberto Fernandez, the country’s Peronist President, also weighing in. The islands, located 400 miles off the South American country in the south Atlantic, were the subject of a short but bloody war between Argentina and the UK in 1982 which was triggering by an invasion ordered by then-leader, military junta General Leopoldo Galtieri.

Despite its defeat, Argentina has never relinquished its claim on the Falklands and has even tried to enlist the support of the United Nations and Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy supremo, in recent years.

Nevertheless, speaking on the 39th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War, Mr Rosindell, MP for Romford in Essex, said both Mr Fernandez, who has declared sovereignty to be a key policy of his administration, and Mr Filmus, would once again be disappointed.

Mr Rosindell told Express.co.uk: “It would seem to me to be a waste of the time and money of Argentinian taxpayers for there to be a Secretary for Las Malvinas, given the decisive nature in which this issue was resolved, firstly in the 1982 war and secondly in the almost unanimous consent that the Falkland Islanders gave to their continuing status as a British Overseas Territory in the 2013 referendum.

“With Argentina still mired in a deadly wave of COVID-19 Argentinians must be asking themselves why on earth their Government is devoting time and energy to an issue on which they know the UK Government, and the people of the Falkland Islands, will remain absolutely firm on.”

In 2013, 1,518 of the Falkland Islands’ 1,600 voters took part in a referendum on the subject of sovereignty, with 1,513 (99.8 percent) voting to retain the country’s links with Britain.

Three people voted no, with two ballots invalid or blank.

Mr Rosindell added: “Mr Filmus and his boss President Fernandez may think that this bellicose rhetoric plays well to the domestic audience.

“But it only serves to harm British-Argentinian relations in the long term for absolutely no material gain.”

Mr Filmus made his remarks in a column written for the Infobae news website on June 10, which he declared “the Day of the Reaffirmation of Argentine Rights over the Malvinas Islands and Antarctic Sector”.

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June 10 marks the day, 192 years ago, on which Argentina issued a decree which it claims created the Military Command of the Malvinas Islands – Argentina’s name for the Falklands – and those adjacent to Cape Horn.

Accusing Britain of “forcibly occupied the Malvinas Islands in 1833” and “evicting the Argentine population that lived there”, Mr Filmus added: “From that moment on, the United Kingdom not only usurped our territory, but also illegally and illegitimately plundered the immense wealth that these southern areas possess.

“Today, 192 years after the creation of the Malvinas Political and Military Command, we reaffirm that the sovereign rights of Argentina over the Islands continue to have the same legitimacy, the same strength and the same consensus among the nations of Latin America and the world.

“After 188 years of British usurpation, the United Kingdom maintains the same purposes as when it invaded the islands by force: to take the wealth that belongs to the 45 million Argentines, to control the geopolitically strategic bi-oceanic passage, to have sovereignty over the Antarctic Sector and consolidate a military base that protects its colonial ambition and represents an armed threat to the entire region.

Mr Filmus added: “The current challenge is to move away both from policies that give up firmly claiming for our just rights, and from those that reduce our action to exalted rhetoric that, devoid of content, does not build any true path that allows us to successfully navigate the road to the recovery of sovereignty.”

In a reference to the events of 39 years ago, he added: “The Argentine people once again ratify, as they have done with conviction throughout history, upholding the legacy of those who fought and those who gave their lives in the struggle for the Malvinas, the peaceful claim for the end of colonialism and the full exercise of sovereignty over those territories, until our flag flies over the islands again.”

Mr Fernandez himself also had his say on June 10, tweeting: “This Day of the Affirmation of Argentine Rights over the Malvinas, Islands and Antarctic Sector we recover, once again, the collective memory to preserve our rights over a territory that has been usurped.

“The Malvinas were, are and will be Argentine.”

Asked about the question of sovereignty last year, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: “Our position on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is in no doubt, with the Islanders making clear they wish to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

“There can be no discussions on sovereignty unless and until the Falkland Islanders so wish.”

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