DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE REQUESTS ARGENTINA, UNITED KINGDOM TO RESUME NEGOTIATIONS ON FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS)

15 June 2005
GA/COL/3122

DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE REQUESTS ARGENTINA, UNITED KINGDOM TO RESUME NEGOTIATIONS ON FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS)

15/06/2005
Press Release
GA/COL/3122

Special Committee on

Decolonization

8th Meeting (AM)


DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE REQUESTS ARGENTINA, UNITED KINGDOM


TO RESUME NEGOTIATIONS ON FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS)

 


The Special Committee on decolonization today, seeking to end the “special and particular colonial situation” in the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), requested the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the long-standing sovereignty dispute.


Adopting a consensus text without a vote, the Special Committee took note of the views expressed by Argentina’s President to the General Assembly’s fifty-ninth session, in which he, among other things, urged the United Kingdom to resume negotiations.  Further, the Committee expressed regret that, in spite of widespread international support for negotiations, the implementation of General Assembly resolutions on the question has not yet started.


Stephen Luxton, Legislative Councillor of the Falklands Islands Government, stressed the need to respect the right to self-determination, adding that the people of the Falkland Islands must be allowed to choose their own future without any external influence.  Argentina’s total disregard for the view of the people of the Falkland Islands directly challenged the purpose of the Committee, which was to eradicate such situations where nations sought to impose authoritarian colonial rule.  It was no use to claim that the people of the Falklands were not permitted self-determination because they were not a distinct people.  Falkland Islanders had nothing in common with Argentina -- culturally, linguistically, historically or politically.  Many could trace their ancestry back many generations and, unlike Argentina, the Falkland Islands never had an indigenous population.  In that regard, Falkland Islanders had more right to live on the islands than Argentine citizens had to live in Argentina.


Argentina’s Government was confusing territorial integrity with geographical proximity, he added.  Self-determination was not about the sort of authoritarian colonial dominance and ownership that Argentina wished to exert over his country.  The twenty-first century, led by the United Nations, should not tolerate that.  While the Argentine Government of today was democratic, the essence of its position with regard to his country had not changed significantly from the military dictatorship of 1982, except for that fact that overt military aggression did not seem to be on the agenda.  If the current hostility of the Argentine Government towards the Falkland Islands served any purpose at all, it was to bring into sharp focus Argentina’s real intentions.


Also representing the Falkland Islands Government, John Birmingham said it was difficult to put across a new angle on the issue of sovereignty, as the position was unchanged – namely, the continued Argentine insistence that they owned the Falkland Islands.  When the new Argentine Government took office two years ago, the elected councillors of the Falkland Islands had hoped for further cooperation in areas of mutual interest and concern in the south-west Atlantic.  That had not happened, however.  The Argentine Administration had gone out of its way to make life difficult for the Falkland Islands.  Far from gaining support for their point of view, the Argentine Government’s attitude was making countries and people look at the present Government as a “bullying administration” that did not understand the realities of the twenty-first century.


Rafael Bielsa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, said the special nature of the Malvinas Islands question derived from the fact that the United Kingdom had occupied the Islands by force in 1833, ousted the Argentine population and authorities on the Islands and replaced them with settlers of British origin.  Then, as now, Argentina had not consented to the acts of force that gave rise to the Malvinas question.  The specificity of the Malvinas question was legally and politically enshrined in resolution 2065 (XX) adopted 40 years ago.  That resolution defined the question as a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, which must be resolved through negotiations between both States taking into account the provisions of the United Nations Charter and resolution 1514 (XV). 


The principle of self-determination, he continued, was only applicable to subjugated or dominated peoples and not to the descendants of a population transferred by the occupying Power.  The international community had repeatedly urged the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations on sovereignty without delay.  While his Government had repeated its willingness to negotiate, the United Kingdom had persisted in its negative attitude of rejection.  The United Kingdom’s refusal to resume bilateral negotiations on sovereignty delayed and hindered the decolonization process to which the Committee was devoted.


Introducing the draft, Chile’s representative said the presence of so many Latin American representatives in the meeting indicated the interest that the countries of the region had in seeing a lasting solution to the question of the Malvinas.  Chile, like the other Latin American countries, supported Argentina’s rights in the sovereignty dispute on the question of the Malvinas.  The only viable way forward was through bilateral negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom.  The maintenance of colonial situations in the early twenty-first century was an inexplicable anachronism that must be brought to an end, he added.


Supporting the consolidation of the territorial integrity of his continent, Venezuela’s representative reaffirmed his support for Argentina’s legitimate rights in the context of the sovereignty dispute.  He also rejected the recent inclusion of the MalvinasIslands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands in the text of the constitutional Treaty of the European Union adopted in 2004, which was nothing more than a revindication of Europe’s colonial past.  That past had left bloody tracks in Asia, Africa and Latin America and, in turn, was the source of Europe’s current basis of wealth.


Also speaking this morning was the representatives of Brazil, on behalf of the Rio Group, Paraguay, on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), Peru, Uruguay, China, Bolivia, Sierra Leone, Syria, Indonesia, Grenada, Cuba, United Republic of Tanzania and the Russian Federation.


Participating petitioners this morning included James Douglas Lewis and Luis Gustavo Vernet.


The Special Committee will meet again Thursday, 16 June, at 10 a.m. to continue its work.


Background


The Special Committee on decolonization met this morning to consider the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).  A working paper on the question prepared by the Secretariat (document A/AC.109/2005/17) notes that on 10 June 2004, the Government of Argentina issued a press communiqué, confirming its “permanent and unwavering determination to regain authority over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, through the peaceful path of diplomatic negotiations and in accordance with the many appeals of the international community”.


Also according to the paper, United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a Christmas radio message, stated that the United Kingdom would continue to discuss with Argentina issues of mutual concern and benefit to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), building on meetings over shared fish stocks, the continental shelf and demining, but that there was no lessening of the Government’s commitment to the islanders’ security, sovereignty and self-determination.  He said that position would not change unless the islanders decided otherwise.


Regarding the position of the Argentine Government, the working paper notes that, in his address to the General Assembly on 21 September 2004, the President of Argentina said the United Nations has established, through various resolutions of the Assembly and the Special Committee, that the question of the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands is a special colonial situation which must be resolved through bilateral negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom.  Reaffirming Argentina’s willingness to reach a just, peaceful and lasting solution to the sovereignty dispute, he urged the United Kingdom to comply promptly with the international community’s appeal and to resume negotiations.


Concerning the position of the United Kingdom, the administering Power, the paper explains that, in a letter dated 30 September 2004 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the General Assembly President, the British Government noted that it attaches great importance to the principle of self-determination as set out in Article 1.2 of the United Nations Charter and article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  According to the letter, “there could be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the Islanders so wish”.  “The United Kingdom has no doubts about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.”


For its consideration, the Committee also had before it a draft resolution on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) (document A/AC.109/2005/L.8) sponsored by Bolivia, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela.  By the terms of the draft, the Special Committee would request the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to consolidate the current process of dialogue and cooperation through the resumption of negotiations in order to find as soon as possible a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute relating to the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in accordance with previous Assembly resolutions.


By further terms of the text, the Committee would take note of the views expressed by Argentina’s President on the occasion of the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly.  It would regret that, in spite of widespread international support for a negotiation between the two Governments, the implementation of Assembly resolutions on the question has not yet started.


By further provisions, the Committee would reiterate that the way to end the special and particular colonial situation in the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) is the peaceful and negotiated settlement of the dispute over sovereignty between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom.  It would also reiterate its firm support for the Secretary-General’s mission of good offices to assist the parties in complying with the Assembly’s request in its resolutions on the question.


Statements


JOHN BIRMINGHAM, Legislative Councillor, Falkland Islands Government, said it was difficult to put across a new angle on the issue of sovereignty, as the position was unchanged, namely, the continued Argentine insistence that they owned the Falkland Islands.  The electorate he represented was unable to understand why the United Nations could not comprehend or accept that in the life of the Committee, the situation for small States and Territories such as the Falkland Islands had changed enormously.  The Falkland Islands were a small country, but it had a society that functioned like a city-state.  Its legal system, based on English law, was up-to-date and the education and medical systems were modern.  All were self-funded except for defence, which was the United Kingdom’s responsibility.  The Falkland Island Government also contributed to its own defence.


He noted that when the new Argentine Government under President Kirchner had come into office, the elected councillors of the Falkland Islands had hoped for further cooperation in areas of mutual interest and concern in the south-west Atlantic, including the conservation of marine resources.  Unfortunately, that had not happened.  Over the last two years, the Argentine Administration had gone out of its way to make life difficult for the Falkland Islands, banning charter flights to the Islands in an attempt to damage the tourism industry.  The Government had also encouraged their fishing fleet to fish in large numbers close to the Island’s zone, actively sought to frustrate self-government in the Islands and sought to prevent Falkland Islanders representing themselves in international bodies and trade fairs.


Far from gaining support for their point of view, the Argentine Government’s attitude was making countries and people look at the present Government as a “bullying administration” that did not understand the realities of the twenty-first century, he said.  Falkland Islanders were pleased for their friends the Gibraltarians.  The Spanish Government’s position had changed.  If Spain, a modern democracy, could open up and accept that the Gibraltarians had rights, then was it not time for Argentina to do the same? he asked.  Some of Argentina’s neighbours had been reported as saying that patience was needed when dealing with the present Argentine Government.  Falkland Islanders had a lot of patience and, as time went by, he was confident that the Committee would begin to see that times had changed and that the remaining Territories had rights under the United Nations Charter, the most fundamental right being the right to self-determination.


STEPHEN LUXTON, Legislative Councillor, Falklands Islands Government, explained that he was an elected member of the Legislative Council and a fifth generation Falkland Islander.  His British ancestors settled in the Falkland Islands almost 150 years ago.  In 1982, the Argentine invaders deported his family at gunpoint and they were exiled to the United Kingdom for the duration of the enemy occupation, which was thankfully brought to an end by British forces.  While the Argentine Government of today was democratic, he did not believe the essence of its position with regard to his country had changed significantly from the military dictatorship of 1982, except for that fact that overt military aggression did not seem to be on the agenda.  If the current hostility of the Argentine Government towards the Falkland Islands served any purpose at all, it was to bring into sharp focus Argentina’s real intentions, and strengthen his people’s resolve to remain British.  If Argentina was truly democratic, it would recognize the right of the people of the Falklands to determine their own future.


He said that the draft resolution before the Special Committee referred to the “maintenance of colonial situations”, which, itself, rendered the text irrelevant.  The Islands’ people were not maintaining a colonial situation, because their country was not a colony -- it was an internally self-governing and largely self-sufficient British overseas territory.  The days of colonial rule were nothing but a distant memory, and the reason the people of the Falklands were British now was because that was what they wanted.  They had nothing in common with Argentina -- culturally, linguistically, historically or politically.


From the United Nations’ perspective, the Falkland Islands had already been decolonized, he said.  It had already achieved the level of independence and self-control it desired at present.  Its relationship with the United Kingdom was based on partnership and prosperity, with regular consultation and dialogue aimed at promoting the continual development of the Falklands into a stronger and more economically secure community.  The concept of territorial integrity promoted by the Argentine Government was “complete nonsense”.  The Special Committee and the United Nations were not about territorial integrity or furthering the territorial aspirations of a State; it was about self-determination.  In his view, the Argentine Government was confusing territorial integrity with geographical proximity.  The Falkland Islands enjoyed a fully democratic government, excellent education and health services, and a prosperous business community.


He said that, despite Argentina’s concerted efforts to disrupt the tourist industry by imposing an economic blockade on non-scheduled charter flights into the Falklands, the latter’s tourist industry continued to grow, with many tourists travelling from across the globe to enjoy its unspoiled landscape, excellent fishing and breathtaking wildlife.  Nevertheless, the reality was that Argentina had effectively imposed an illegal, unilateral economic sanction against the Falkland Islands people and economy, about which each and every country in the United Nations should be outraged.  Overall, the Argentine claim was not valid.  The fact that Argentines were taught from a young age that the Falkland Islands had been illegally occupied by the British settlers for 170 years did not make it so.  British settlers first arrived in the Islands in the 1700s.  Even if Committee members believed the Argentine version of what happened in the early 1800s, what difference did it make?  Was it practical in any part of the world to turn back the clocks to the early nineteenth century and redraw the borders accordingly?


Self-determination was about allowing the people of the Falkland Islands to choose their own future without any external influence.  Self-determination was not about the sort of authoritarian colonial dominance and ownership that Argentina wished to exert over his country.  The twenty-first century, led by the United Nations, should not tolerate that.  Argentina displayed total disregard for the view of the people of the Falklands.  Such disregard directly challenged the purpose of this Committee, which was surely to eradicate such situations where nations sought to impose authoritarian colonial rule.  Moreover, it was no use for the Argentines to claim that the people of the Falklands were not permitted self-determination because they were not a distinct people.  Many could trace their ancestry back many generations and, unlike Argentina, the Falkland Islands never had an indigenous population.  The Falkland Islanders had more right to live on the islands than Argentine citizens had to live in Argentina.


“We are a distinct and long-established community with every right to choose our future”, he said.  The future lay with British sovereignty.  There would never be any negotiations on the current British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, because there was no desire among the Falkland Islands people to change the status quo.  He asked the Committee to consider the guiding principles of the United Nations and set aside regional political alliances and, without prejudice, consider the overriding principles, namely, the wishes of the Falkland Islanders.  There were no obligations to Argentina or to the United Kingdom, only to the Falkland Islands.   The draft resolution in its current form should be dismissed from the Committee and no such future resolution should be brought that did not contain, as its main reference, the right to self-determination of the Falkland Islands people.  It was plain that the Argentine Government was seeking nothing less than a change in sovereignty, to make the Falkland Islands a colony of Argentina, so that it could impose its will, while, at the same time, exploit its natural wealth.  The Committee should reject that concept “out of hand”.


JAMES DOUGLAS LEWIS said he came to the Committee as a Malvinas Islander who had lived from an early age on the Argentine mainland, as had a great number of islanders in the past.  His great grandparents had come to the region as missionaries in the late 1860s.  Many islanders had moved to the mainland.  Their beliefs, customs and religion had never been questioned and they had integrated in the Argentine way of life without problem.  Commerce with the islands had been implemented in the past and could be done again with mutual benefits.  Fishing, oil exploration, sheep farming and tourism were some of the main areas in which cooperation should be sought.


It had been 18 years since he had first addressed the Committee on the issue, he said.  While much had changed since then, both in mainland Argentina and on the islands, the main issue remained deadlocked.  The continued resolutions calling both countries to resume negotiations on the problem had not been heeded by the United Kingdom.  The right to self-determination had been overruled by the General Assembly, since the islanders could not be considered “a people” -- as the islands had been legitimately dwelt by Argentines when Britain expelled the inhabitants in 1833.  Those rights, inherited from Spain, had not been objected to in previous treaties between Argentina and the United Kingdom, making clear that the only acceptable outcome of the issue was the recognition of Argentina’s sovereignty rights.


He added that steps to safeguard the islanders’ way of life had been included in 1994 amendments to the Argentine Constitution, showing a political will to continue working towards that claim.  He asked the Committee to once again call on both sides to negotiate an end to the long-standing dispute.


GUSTAVO VERNET, reading a petition on the question of the MalvinasIslands, said that as an Argentine citizen and great-great-grandson of Luis Vernet, the first Argentine Governor of the MalvinasIslands, he had come to express his view and the grounds for it.  He had descended form those Argentine citizens who had settled peacefully in the MalvinasIslands, from which they were later expelled by force.  He reaffirmed that the MalvinasIslands formed an integral part of Argentine territory, and he requested that negotiations be undertaken to put an end to the colonial status to which the MalvinasIslands were subjected, as well as an end to the ongoing sovereignty dispute.


After detailing the presence of Argentines in the MalvinasIslands, he said that Argentine citizens used to live peacefully there.  In 1833, Argentine citizens were stripped of all of their possessions and expelled by force, in an act of barbarity, in blatant defiance of people’s rights.  That usurpation continued to this day.  Citizens of British origin had come today to invoke what they considered their right to self-determination, based on an illegitimate act of usurpation.  Although the search for an agreement between the parties involved political will, based on the illegality of colonialism as recognized by the international community, it must be accepted that, in order to put an end to a colonial situation, the people of the Islands should freely choose their legal status.  When, however, there was an underlying question of sovereignty, meaning that no single people held the right to self-determination, the exact enforcement of that principle demanded that that Territory should be reintegrated into the State from which it had been separated.


He said that the self-determination principle was only valid for peoples subjected to a colonial Power and not for the descendants of a population that such Power illegally transplanted in the nineteenth century.  After having forcibly expelled an Argentine population, the British left a garrison of soldiers and, years later, began sending their own citizens, contracted by an English company, in order to exploit the wealth that the Argentine citizens had been forced to abandon.  The principle of self-determination would be distorted if it was interpreted as granting self-determination to the descendants of the colonial Power themselves, at the expense of the political community that had suffered colonial actions.  Respect for the self-determination principle as regulated by the United Nations, therefore, would dictate the reintegration of the people of Argentina to their legitimate domain, with a view to ensuring their definitive territorial integrity.


Introduction of Draft


HERALDO MUÑOZ (Chile) introduced the draft resolution, also on behalf of Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela, noting that the text was a faithful representation of the United Nations position on the question.  It recognized that it was a special and particular colonial question that was different from other colonial situations, owing to the existence of a sovereignty dispute between two States, namely, Argentina and the United Kingdom.  The draft stated that the only way to end the situation was a negotiated settlement on the dispute between the two Governments.


He regretted that, notwithstanding the time that had elapsed since the adoption of Assembly resolution 2065 (XX) and despite repeated appeals by the international community, the prolonged dispute had not been settled.  The presence of so many Latin American representatives in the meeting was an indication of the interest that the countries of the region had in seeing a lasting solution to the question of the Malvinas.  Chile, like the other Latin American countries, supported Argentina’s rights in the sovereignty dispute on the question of the Malvinas and considered that the only viable way forward was through bilateral negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom.


The maintenance of colonial situations in the early twenty-first century was an inexplicable anachronism that must be brought to an end, he said.  There were no reasons for continued delay in the search for a solution to the Malvinas question.  That was why he made a fresh appeal to the parties to the dispute to resume as early as possible effective negotiations to that end.


RAFAEL BIELSA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, said the MalvinasIslands question was a special and particular colonial question.  Its special nature derived from the fact that the United Kingdom had occupied the Islands by force in 1833, ousted the Argentine population and authorities established on the Islands and did not allow them to return, replacing them with settlers of British origin.  Then, as now, Argentina had not consented to those acts of force that gave rise to the Malvinas question.  The mere passage of time did not generate rights either in favour of a colonial Power occupying foreign territories or in favour of its subjects settled there in the way he had described, regardless of the name that the colonial Powers might give to the territories.


He said the specificity of the Malvinas question was legally and politically enshrined in resolution 2065 (XX) adopted 40 years ago.  It defined the question as a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, which must be resolved through negotiations between both States taking into account the provisions of the United Nations Charter and resolution 1514 (XV). That resolution expressly established that both parties should give due consideration to the interests of the inhabitants of the MalvinasIslands.  That meant, among other things, respect for their properties, culture and way of life.  That excluded from the question the principle of self-determination, which was only applicable to subjugated or dominated peoples and not to the descendants of a population transferred by the occupying Power.  The principle of territorial integrity, however, as established in resolution 1514 (XV), was to be applied.  He deplored how Mr. Birmingham had referred to the Argentine people as a “bullying administration”.  He also objected to Mr. Luxton’s comparison of the present Government to the military government at the time of the invasion.


The recovery of full sovereignty, while respecting the way of life of the inhabitants of the Islands in accordance with international law, was a principle whose compliance was set forth in the Argentine Constitution, he said.  In his inaugural address, President Nestor Kirchner had stressed the Government’s firm commitment to seeking the recovery of full sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime spaces.  The international community, together with the Assembly and the Committee, had repeatedly urged the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations on sovereignty without delay.  His Government had repeated its willingness to negotiate.  Despite the calls from the international community, however, the United Kingdom had persisted in its negative attitude of rejection.  The United Kingdom’s refusal to resume bilateral negotiations on sovereignty delayed and hindered the decolonization process to which the Committee was devoted.


He requested that the United Kingdom consider the Committee’s and the international community’s successive calls to negotiate.  With a view to resuming negotiations on sovereignty with the United Kingdom, the Argentine Government and the Government of the United Kingdom had, since 1989, adopted different ad hoc understandings of a provisional nature under the sovereignty safeguard formula, on practical questions concerning the geographical area of dispute.  Among them were understandings on confidence-building measures in the military sphere, conservation of fishing resources, exploration of hydrocarbons, air and sea access and communications with the Malvinas Islands, and the construction of a war memorial at Darwin for the Argentines fallen in the 1982 conflict.  His Government had applied those understandings in a spirit of cooperation to create a situation favourable to the bilateral treatment of the sovereignty dispute.  In other words, to resume negotiations towards achieving a final, fair and peaceful solution to the dispute.  For that reason, the understandings could not be assumed as the acceptance of any claimed status quo in the area of dispute, nor could they be a substitute for a definitive solution to the question.


Despite his Government’s willingness, the United Kingdom continued to carry out unilateral actions, which were contrary to the spirit of cooperation expressed in the provisional understandings, he said.  The Argentine Government had permanently protested and rejected British unilateral actions concerning the Territory under dispute, including seismic prospecting for hydrocarbons and the sale of fishing licences in the area under dispute.


He said such actions also included the United Kingdom’s attempts to assert an international presence for the MalvinasIslands as a separate entity from Argentina and to grant the so-called “island government” status, which it did not have, and the extension of international conventions to the disputed area.  That had occurred, among other things, with the recent inclusion of the MalvinasIslands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands in the text of the constitutional Treaty of the European Union.  That jurisdictional act had been duly rejected by Argentina before the European Union, as has been the practice since 1972, when the United Kingdom, adhering to the Treaty of Rome, had illegally included the MalvinasIslands and its dependencies in the Treaty.


Regardless of the fate of the draft European Constitution, the inclusion of the said Territories in Annex II of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe in no way affected the sovereignty and jurisdiction of Argentina over them.  Those unilateral actions by the British were manifestly contrary to the provisions of the Assembly resolutions and must cease.


Moreover, the manner in which London had commemorated the events of 1982 was a grave offence to Argentines, as it ignored their pain and suffering as a result of the conflict.  In no way would Argentina commemorate such acts, even when sovereignty of the Islands was regained.  Argentina’s Government would continue to work with the United Nations to achieve its objective of a world free from colonialism.  His Government also urged the international community to comply with the Assembly’s resolutions and decisions and was emphatic in its willingness to continue dialogue and resume bilateral negotiations with the United Kingdom on the Malvinas question, to end the colonial situation which violated the territorial integrity of Argentina.


Speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG (Brazil) said that, although progress towards the goal of the decolonization Committee had been significant, it was undeniable that the task remained unaccomplished.  For its fulfilment, the Committee’s activities required the special attention of the international community, as attested by the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, which would end in 2010.  The Decade’s action plan called for the conclusion of the decolonization process in the non-autonomous territories listed by the Committee, either through the exercise of the right to self-determination or through consultations among interested States, with a view to concluding the considerations of those issues that were clearly identified.


He said that the solution to the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) required resolving the sovereignty dispute, as provided for by General Assembly resolutions, among them, resolutions 2065 (XX) and 3160 (XXVIII).  The Rio Group considered it necessary that the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom restart negotiations, with a view to find, as soon as possible, a peaceful, just and lasting solution to the sovereignty dispute, according to the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Special Committee.


On behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) countries, TERUMI MATSUO DE CLAVEROL (Paraguay) reaffirmed the full validity of the United Nations Charter with regard to the non-use of force and the peaceful settlement of international controversies and disputes.  The MERCOSUR countries fully recognized the right of self-determination, in accordance with the 1960 General Assembly resolution on the subject and those of the Special Committee.  They had unequivocally expressed support for Argentina’s legitimate rights with respect to the sovereignty dispute.  Once again, MERCOSUR’s members reaffirmed the need for the parties to take special account of the interests of the population of Malvinas, and they called for an end to the special situation under discussion.


She called on both Governments to resume negotiations, in order to find a peaceful, fair and lasting solution, as soon as possible.  The Southern Common Market supported the draft resolution presented by Chile’s delegation on the understanding that it would be adopted by consensus, once again.


ROMY TINCOPA (Peru) said she had consistently supported the eradication of colonialism in accordance with the relevant Assembly and Committee resolutions.  One key achievement of the United Nations had been the decolonization process and the granting of independence to countries and peoples.  That was an ongoing task, and the Second Decade was in its fifth year.  In that context, Peru had repeatedly defended the right to self-determination to enable peoples to establish their own political organization and obtain economic, social and cultural development.  Nevertheless, the case being examined today differed from other Non-Self-Governing Territories in that the solution was clear –- to recognize the sovereignty of Argentina over the MalvinasIslands and surrounding maritime area.


She said that that position had been based on historic, geographic and legal criteria derived from Argentina’s right of possession of the islands.  The only way forward towards resolving the dispute was negotiations between the concerned parties, which must resume as soon as possible.  Negotiations on sovereignty were not easy; they required much patience, imagination and faith.  But, there was no other choice than for the two Governments to resume talks.


SUSANA RIVERO (Uruguay) reiterated, once again, her country’s support for the principles sustained by this Committee on the long-standing dispute over the sovereignty of the MalvinasIslands.  Uruguay’s position, supported by international law, proceeded from a juridical viewpoint about the principle of the territorial integrity of States.  That was why it believed that the sovereignty of the MalvinasIslands should be restored to Argentina.  Her country had been a faithful defender of the right to self-determination, which had triggered a spectacular decolonization process after the Second World War.  The legitimate “owners” of such rights, however, were not the States, but the people, and not all of the people, but the “native” ones, which was not the case of the inhabitants of the MalvinasIslands.  Apart from the very old friendship between Uruguay and Argentina, it was not friendship or solidarity that brought the two nations together, but the firm conviction that the MalvinasIslands belonged to Argentina.


She said that, to the huge flow of juridical and historical proof, she could add the studies undertaken by the Uruguayan historian, Rolando LaGuarda Trias, who had spent much of his life researching nautical and geographical themes, in particular, Atlantic discoveries on the American continent.  He had concluded that Argentina had unnquestionable rights to the MalvinasIslands inherited from Spain.  It had been no surprise that that conclusion was one to which all experts, historians, and jurists had impartially reached.  She appealed, once again, to both Governments to resume negotiations, taking into account the interests of the population of the Islands and aimed at a peaceful, just and lasting solution. 


ZHANG YISHAN (China) said that the General Assembly and the Special Committee had given consistent attention to the issue of the MalvinasIslands.  China’s position on the issue remained the same.  It had always held that territorial disputes between countries should be resolved through peaceful negotiations.  That was an important principle, not only in conformity with the spirit of the United Nations Charter, but one that should be advocated and followed by the international community.  Hopefully, the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom would act in accordance with the relevant Assembly resolutions, continue their constructive dialogue, and work for an early peaceful and just solution to the question.  Flowing from that spirit, his delegation supported the adoption of the draft resolution proposed by Bolivia, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela.


ERNESTO ARANIBAR QUIROGA (Bolivia) called on Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations concerning the MalvinasIslands.  Dispute over the Territories had been constant factor throughout the twentieth century and had occupied the international community’s interest since 1965.  In 1985, the Assembly had rejected the proposal to address the Malvinas as an issue of self-determination, choosing instead to address it as a matter under the principle of sovereignty.  Since 1989, the Committee had been studying the issue of the MalvinasIsland, calling upon the parties concerned to resume their search for a fair solution to the problem.  There were many resolutions to launch a dialogue, which had reached stalemate in 1982.  Bolivia reiterated its desire for the dialogue to resume.


The Special Committee’s task was to search for areas of agreement when such controversies arose, he said.  It was important, moreover, that such discussions took place in a multilateral forum in order to address the matters in a manner in keeping with the twenty-first century.  Bolivia called on the Committee to adopt the resolution.


SULAY-MANAH KPUKUMU (Sierra Leone) said his delegation had repeatedly maintained that the Falklands question should be resolved through a peaceful and negotiated settlement.  It was in that spirit that it had welcomed the 1999 agreement as a significant step towards resolution of that dispute.  He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to that position and he urged all parties to engage in a sustained dialogue for the purpose of finding a lasting solution, which respected the wishes of the islanders who had been living on the Islands for more than
160 years.  In 1952, the General Assembly, through adoption of resolution 637 (VII), had reaffirmed its commitment to recognize self-determination as a prerequisite to the full realization of all fundamental human rights and those of Member States of the United Nations to self-determination for all peoples and nations.


He said that subjecting people to “alien domination” constituted a denial of fundamental human rights and violated peoples’ right to freely determine their political status and pursue meaningful economic, social and cultural development.  The people were the “holders” of the right to self-determination.  Any solution that fell short of expressing the aspirations of the islanders would be inconsistent with paragraph 2, Article 1, of the United Nations Charters, as well as paragraph 4 of the Millennium Declaration.  He reiterated that the matter of the Falklands could only be meaningfully resolved through a negotiated settlement, which took into account the wishes of the people of the Falklands.


FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said the presence of Argentina’s Foreign Minister showed the importance the Government attached to the Committee’s work.  His delegation supported the draft resolution and believed that its adoption by consensus would once again emphasize the role of the international community in solving the problem.  The resumption of dialogue between Argentina and the United Kingdom would, moreover, lead to a suitable solution regarding the sovereignty dispute.


ADIYATWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY (Indonesia) said that halfway through the Second Decade, there was a new urgency to find innovative ways to bring an end to colonialism with regard to the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories.  Since its inception, the Special Committee had underscored its competence to deal with the question of the MalvinasIslands as an integral part of its mandate.  The Declaration of the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples clearly aimed to bring a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms.  The Declaration also stated that any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of integrity of a country was incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter.


She said that the Special Committee had always recognized that no universal criteria could be applied to decolonization questions, since each issue was unique.  The case of the FalklandsIslands (Malvinas) was no exception.  In that particular case, and because of its distinct historical background, the principle of territorial integrity should be the first consideration.  Resolutions 2065 (XX) and 3160 (XXVIII) had taken note of the existence of the sovereignty dispute over the Islands between Argentina and the United Kingdom, and had exhorted them to seek a peaceful solution.  Those texts had also declared the need to accelerate negotiations, in order to put an end to the colonial situation without delay.  Relevant United Nations resolutions had clearly determined that the only way to put an end to that situation was its peaceful and negotiated settlement, taking into account the interests of the population of the Islands.  He, therefore, urged the resumption of talks between the two countries.  Only that would make a fair, equitable and durable solution possible.


MARGUERITE ST. JOHN (Grenada) said she took the floor to reiterate her Government’s long-standing position on the matter and to restate its commitment to the principle of self-determination and the rights of a people to decide their destiny.  She called on the United Kingdom and Argentina to continue to concentrate on such issues as communication technology, conservation and development of fish stocks, in the hope that what seemed impossible now would eventually be resolved to the benefit of the peoples of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).


ORLANDO REQUEIJO GUAL (Cuba) said the Foreign Minister’s presence was a clear sign of the importance Argentina attached to the item, as well as its clear resolve to arrive at a peaceful settlement.  He also highlighted the presence of a large number of Latin American delegations supporting the legitimate rights of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute.  Cuba once again was honoured to be included in the list of the draft’s co-sponsors. He also stressed the need for negotiations to resume as soon as possible, allowing for a final, peaceful and fair solution to the issue of the MalvinasIslands.


MARCOS FUENMAYOR-CONTERAS (Venezuela) said he supported the draft resolution before the Committee.  He especially supported operative paragraph 6 on the granting of independence to colonial peoples, which stated that all attempts to disrupt a country’s integrity ran counter to the United Nations Charter.  He, therefore, reaffirmed his support for Argentina’s legitimate rights in the context of the sovereignty dispute.  He energetically rejected the inclusion of those islands in the European treaty, adopted in 2004, which was nothing more than a revindication of Europe’s colonial past, which had left bloody tracks in Asia, Africa and Latin America and which, in turn, was the source of Europe’s current basis of wealth.  He supported the consolidation of the territorial integrity of his continent.


GRACE MARO MUJUMA (United Republic of Tanzania) said her country was known for its unwavering support of the principle of the settlement of disputes through peaceful means.  Thus, she continued to appeal to all parties to the question of the Falklands to put aside their differences, while taking into consideration the voices of the people of the island.  Where there was a will, there was always a way.  She supported adoption of the resolution by consensus.


VITALIY LEPLINSKIY (Russian Federation) supported the draft and hoped that the Committee would be able to achieve consensus on the text.  He also stressed the need for a mutually acceptable resolution on the matter through bilateral negotiations based on relevant Assembly resolutions.


The Committee then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.


* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.