SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTION CALLING FOR DIRECT TALKS OVER QUESTION OF FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS)
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTION CALLING FOR DIRECT TALKS OVER QUESTION OF FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS)
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTION CALLING
FOR DIRECT TALKS OVER QUESTION OF FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS)
Two Texts on Non-Self-Governing Territories also Approved by Consensus
The Special Committee on Decolonization today considered the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), hearing statements by the Foreign Minister of Argentina and petitioners from the Territory before approving a draft resolution that would call for direct negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom.
Approving the text without a vote, the Special Committee recommended that the General Assembly reiterate that the way to end the “special and particular colonial situation” of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) was through a peaceful negotiated settlement of the sovereignty dispute between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom. The Assembly would express regret that implementation of its earlier resolutions requesting such negotiations had not yet started.
The Special Committee also approved, again without a vote, draft resolutions on: implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples; implementation of that Declaration by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations; and economic and other activities affecting the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.
Jorge Enrique Taiana, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, said, “I come today to this Committee to reiterate once more before the international community the Argentine Republic’s inalienable rights over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.” The archipelago was an integral part of the Argentine territory, unlawfully occupied by the United Kingdom since 1833 by virtue of an act of force. That occupation had been carried out against the wishes of the inhabitants, who had been expelled and substituted by transplanted British subjects.
He said the Argentine Government had reiterated its permanent willingness to negotiate in order to comply with the obligation equally imposed on both parties. Nor was the Government reluctant to cooperate with the United Kingdom on practical aspects deriving from the de facto situation in the South Atlantic. For its part, the United Kingdom persisted in its refusal to negotiate -- despite the fact that the United Nations had invariably asked for such negotiations -- alleging that it would not do so as long as the British occupiers did not wish to do so. However, the path to a fair and lasting solution started with negotiation, and the beginning of that process had already taken much longer than it had in the vast majority of international disputes.
One of the petitioners from the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), legislative Council Member Richard Stevens said the Territory’s well-managed economy was flowering and its fisheries were among the best-managed in the world. Farming was being improved, infrastructure was being built and education improved. The Territory had a well-funded health department with high standards of treatment and service delivery. All those improvements had been carried out “by our Government with our money”.
The democratic process was also being improved, he said, adding that the Territory’s partnership with the United Kingdom, based on the right to self-determination as well as “the right to remain British as long as we wish”, had been updated. “We want better relations with Argentina, however, we are not prepared to stagnate and wait for others to decide our fate.”
Member States called for direct negotiations between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom so that a solution to their sovereignty dispute could be found as soon as possible, taking into consideration the interests of the Territory’s inhabitants. They expressedregret that negotiations had not started, despite numerous requests by the Special Committee and the General Assembly.
After introducing the draft resolution, the representative of Chile said he regretted that, despite the time elapsed and the numerous resolutions adopted by the United Nations, it had not been possible to initiate a direct diplomatic negotiation between the parties. Chile, like other Latin American countries, supported Argentina’s rights in the sovereignty dispute, as the upholding of colonial situations in the early twenty-first century was an anachronism that must be brought to an end. There was no valid reason to delay a solution and the parties were urged once again to resume effective negotiations to that end as early as possible.
Uruguay’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), expressed member countries’ support for Argentina’s legitimate rights over the Malvinas Islands, as did other delegates from Latin American countries. Some speakers emphasized that, because of the special circumstances surrounding the colonial situation of the Territory, the principle of territorial integrity superseded that of self-determination, as provided for under paragraph 6 of resolution 1514 (XV) containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
Representatives of Cuba, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, China, Russian Federation, Venezuela, Syria, Indonesia, Grenada, Bolivia and Tunisia also spoke on the issue.
Speaking in explanation of position following the Special Committee’s approval of the third text was the representative of the Russian Federation.
The Special Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 18 June, to take up the question of Gibraltar.
The Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples had before it a working paper on the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) which, among other things, outlines the positions of the United Kingdom, the administering Power of that Non-Self-Governing Territory, and that of the Government of Argentina.
Prepared by the Secretariat, the working paper (document A/AC.109/2008/13) states that, on 25 September 2007, Nestor Kirchner, then President of Argentina, told the General Assembly, among other things, that the ongoing and unrenounceable objective of regaining the full exercise of Argentine sovereignty over its territory and the country’s permanent readiness to resume negotiations on a solution to the dispute were reflected in Argentina’s Constitution. It was therefore incomprehensible that the United Kingdom should be unwilling to negotiate the matter, thereby violating the provisions of General Assembly resolution 2065 (XX) and numerous others. In a right of reply, the representative of the United Kingdom said the Territory’s elected representatives had told the Special Committee that they were entitled to self-determination and reiterated that the people of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) did not wish for any change in the Territory’s status. There could be no negotiations on sovereignty unless and until such time as the islanders wished it. The United Kingdom had no doubts about its sovereignty over the Territory.
Also before the Special Committee was a draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2008/L.8) sponsored by Bolivia, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela on the Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), by which it would recommend that the General Assembly reiterate that the way to end the special and particular colonial situation in the Territory was through a peaceful negotiated settlement of the sovereignty dispute between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom. By other terms of that text, the Assembly, taking note of the views expressed by Argentina’s President, would regret that implementation of its resolutions on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) has not yet started, in spite of widespread international support for negotiations between the two Governments.
The Special Committee also had before it a draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/AC.109/2008/L.11), by which the Assembly would recommend that all States intensify their efforts within those entities to ensure full and effective implementation of the Declaration. It would reaffirm the need to extend all appropriate assistance to the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories, and urge those specialized agencies and organizations that have not yet provided assistance to the Territories to do so as soon as possible.
Also by the draft, the agencies and other institutions of the United Nations system would be requested to strengthen existing support measures and formulate appropriate assistance programmes to the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, within the framework of their respective mandates and provide information on: environmental problems facing Non-Self-Governing Territories; impact of natural disasters; and ways to help the Territories fight drug trafficking, money-laundering and other illegal activities, as well as illegal exploitation of resources. The Assembly would also recommend that the executive heads of United Nations bodies formulate, in cooperation with regional organizations, concrete proposals for full implementation of the relevant resolutions.
Further by the text, the Assembly would welcome the publication by the Departments of Public Information and Political Affairs, in consultation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), specialized agencies and the Special Committee, of an information leaflet on assistance programmes available to the Non-Self-Governing Territories, and request its wide dissemination. It would welcome continuing efforts by UNDP in maintaining close liaison among the specialized agencies and other organizations, and in providing assistance to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.
The Assembly would, by other terms, encourage Non-Self-Governing Territories to establish and strengthen disaster preparedness and management institutions and policies, with the assistance of the relevant specialized agencies. It would request the administering Powers to facilitate the participation of appointed and elected territorial representatives in the meetings and conferences within the system, so that the Territories may benefit from their activities.
Also by the text, the Assembly would request the Economic and Social Council to continue to consider, in consultation with the Special Committee, appropriate measures for the coordination of policies and activities in implementing relevant Assembly resolutions. It would request specialized agencies to report periodically to the Secretary-General on implementation of the present draft resolution and ask the Secretary-General to transmit the text to the governing bodies of the appropriate specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations.
Also before the Special Committee was a draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (document A/AC.109/2008/L.10), by which the Assembly would reaffirm its determination to continue to take all steps necessary to bring about complete and speedy eradication of colonialism and faithful observance by all States of the relevant provisions of the Charter and the Declaration. It would affirm its support for the aspirations of the peoples under colonial rule to exercise their right to self-determination, including independence, and call upon the administering Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee to finalize, before the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, a constructive programme of work for the Non-Self-Governing Territories on a case-by-case basis.
Recalling with satisfaction the professional, open and transparent nature of the February 2006 and October 2007 referendums to determine the future status of Tokelau, monitored by the United Nations, the Assembly would request the Special Committee to continue to seek suitable means for immediate and full implementation of the Declaration and to carry out actions in connection with the International Decade in all Territories that have not yet exercised their right to self-determination. Those actions should include the formation of specific proposals to bring about an end to colonialism; examination of the implementation of relevant resolutions; examination of the situation in Non-Self-Governing Territories; visits and special missions to those Territories; seminars; and annual observances of the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
Further by the text, the Assembly would call upon the administering Powers to ensure that their activities in Territories under their administration do not adversely affect the interests of the inhabitants, but promote development, and to take measures to guarantee the inalienable rights of non-self-governing peoples to their natural resources, while also protecting their property rights. All States would be urged to provide moral and material assistance, as needed. The Assembly would request the Secretary-General, specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations to provide assistance to the Non-Self-Governing Territories and to continue to do so after they exercised their right to self-determination.
The Special Committee also had before it a draft resolution on economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/AC.9/2008/L.12), by which the Assembly would affirm the value of foreign economic investment, undertaken in collaboration with the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories and in accordance with their wishes, as well as the responsibility of the administering Powers to promote the advancement of those Territories, while reaffirming the legitimate rights of their peoples over their natural resources. In that connection, the Assembly would also reaffirm its concern about any activities aimed at the exploitation of the natural resources that are the heritage and human resources of the Territories’ peoples.
By further terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the need to avoid any economic and other activities that adversely affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, and call upon all Governments that have not yet done so to end the activities of national and corporate bodies under their jurisdiction that are detrimental to interests of the inhabitants of the Territories. It would urge the administering Powers to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable right of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to their natural resources and to maintain control over the future development of those resources.
Also by the text, the Assembly would address the need to ensure that no discriminatory working conditions prevail in the Territories under their administration and to promote in each Territory a fair system of wages. It would appeal to trade unions and non-governmental organizations, as well as individuals, to continue their efforts to promote the economic well-being of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, and also appeal to the media to disseminate information about developments in this regard.
RICHARD STEVENS, Member, Legislative Council of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), said he represented people originating from different countries and the Territory had a strong link with the British Isles. From the 1980s to the present, there had been a slow but constant flow of immigrants, including 30 from Argentina. The Territory’s well-managed economy was flowering and fisheries were among the best managed in the world.
He said farming was being improved with Government support, infrastructure was being built and education improved. Keeping young people in isolated communities was a problem, but they felt a strong Falkland identity. The Territory had a well-funded health department with high standards of treatment and service delivery. All those improvements had been carried out “by our Government with our money”. The Territory was aware of its responsibility towards the environment and was setting up a wind farm to produce a third of Stanley’s energy needs. Most rural communities had wind turbines.
The democratic process was also being improved, he said, noting that the Territory had an elected legislative council, and negotiations with the United Kingdom on a new constitution were in their final stages. The partnership with the United Kingdom, based on the right to self-determination as well as “the right to remain British as long as we wish”, had been updated. “We want better relations with Argentina, however, we are not prepared to stagnate and wait for others to decide our fate.”
JANET ROBERTSON, Member, Legislative Council of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), said that, as a democratically elected representative, she was present to protest the Special Committee’s support for a draft resolution that was contrary to the concept of self-determination, human rights and the rights of peoples as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The principles put forward in resolution 2065 were twofold and followed on from one another: firstly, that the sovereignty dispute over the Territory contravened the principle of territorial integrity, and secondly, that it removed from islanders the right to self-determination. “We dispute the Argentine claim to sovereignty and the principle that this negates our right to self-determination.”
She said a key feature of the draft resolution was its recognition of a sovereignty dispute and of the Argentine view that the nature of the dispute was between British colonialism, on the one hand, and Argentine territorial integrity, based upon Argentina’s historical claim, on the other. Argentina argued that it had inherited Spain’s title to the Territory upon declaring independence from Spain. In fact, the Spanish settlement had been evacuated in 1811. The text also ignored British claim to the Territory, which it had held since establishing its settlement at Port Egmont in 1765. It was also not true that the Argentine population had been forcibly expelled by the British in 1833. The military garrison had been returned to Argentina, but the civilian population of 32 had been invited to stay, and 22 of them had done so.
It was also untrue that Argentina had continually protested British occupation of the islands since 1833, she continued. Between 1849 and 1942, Argentina had only made one official protest, in 1888. As for the argument that the population had no right to self-determination as they were a transient and transplanted population, in fact, there were now eighth and ninth generation Falkland-born islanders whose ancestors had settled the land decades before Patagonia had been occupied by European settlers. “Today, we are a nation of immigrants from all over the world, much like any other economically successful territory.”
Regarding Argentina’s support for the draft resolution, which called for negotiation with Great Britain, she noted that the Argentine Constitution stipulated full sovereignty over the islands, so for Argentina, all negotiation would necessarily have only one solution. In addition, the draft resolution suggested that sovereign claims had greater justification than the right to self-determination of the people most affected by it. The Falkland Islands (Malvinas) were not using the self-determination principle to seek secession from a nation State to which they belonged. They had never been part of the territory of Argentina and certainly the population from which the islanders descended had never been a part of Argentine territory.
The islands were an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, sharing that status with more than half the other territories named as Non-Self-Governing Territories by the United Nations, she said. The draft resolution thus promoted an unjust principle that the rights of one lot of peoples were paramount, but the rights of another were disregarded on the basis that larger States wished to subsume them into their territory. At no point did the text allow the islanders themselves to have any say in the matter.
EVANGELINA AREGUATI, a school teacher from the Territory, said she was a direct descendant of Pablo Areguati, a Guarani aboriginal native appointed Governor of the Malvinas in 1823 and Army Commander of Soledad Island from February until August of that year. Various historical events strengthened the effective domain and administration by Buenos Aires of the territories that had been exercised by Spain without interruption from 1767 until the 1810 May Revolution that had marked the beginning of the wars of independence.
State policy had the precise and manifest objectives of exercising sovereignty and domain in the Patagonian mainland and insular territory, and privileged the Malvinas as a strategic point in the southern region, she said. That policy also protected the islands’ natural resources, particularly the control of fishing and hunting expressed in the regulation laws of 1821, prompted by the worrisome devastation perpetrated by fishing vessels from other nations, mainly England and the United States. The establishment of populations and the development of fishing also served as the basis for a national navy. A succession of governmental acts performed since 1820, including the appointment of authorities, issuance of licences, assignment of lands and the granting of benefits to foster a stable population, could be understood from that perspective.
It could not be held that the Argentine Government had acted at intervals or that the occupation of the islands had not been effective during all those years, she continued. On the contrary, to claim someone else’s territory on the basis of a poor metal plaque left on one small islet of the many that were part of the Malvinas archipelago, or on a reduced and ephemeral abandoned garrison was, to say the least, more than a precarious argument from which to derive alleged rights or titles that had never existed. Argentina’s governmental acts were publicly known and widely documented. Neither the United Kingdom nor any other State had objected to those acts or otherwise protested or challenged them.
She said the United Kingdom had claimed nothing against the effective presence and public administration by Argentine authorities of the Malvinas when it had entered into its first bilateral agreement with the Argentine Government, the purpose of which had been to establish the general framework and the amicable nature of future relations between two friendly States. As for Argentina’s 1849 treaty with Great Britain, its specific purpose had been to end Great Britain’s illegal naval blockade of the port of Buenos Aires, which had been set up to force Argentina to grant commercial preferences. In 1833, the Malvinas had been perfectly integrated as Argentine national territory and the strategic point of development of Southern Patagonia ruled by Argentine authorities under Argentine laws. Its heart would beat in the colony of Soledad, an enterprise launched by Argentines, under the aegis of the Government of Buenos Aires and subject to its laws. The foundations of the Soledad colony had been laid by Argentine settlers.
Everyone knew the rest of the story, she said. On 3 January 1833, Argentina’s territory had been severed and the population of the Malvinas, legitimately established, had been expelled and replaced with English subjects who had remained there since, preventing Argentines from settling in their own land. Like Pablo Areguati, who had undertaken to defend the islands as “a sacred Territory of the Argentine State”, she now came on his behalf to request that the Special Committee promote constructive dialogue between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Everything stated repeatedly by the United Nations should be fulfilled in order to end a colonial situation that constituted an affront to all the democracies of the world.
GUILLERMO RAIMUNDO CLIFTON, a grandson of one of the inhabitants of the Territory and a veterinarian, said that, when the United Kingdom had seized the islands, it had expelled the Argentines and maintained a strict colonial administration. The current inhabitants of the islands were descended from illegal colonizers from Britain and it was not in their interest to end the situation through bilateral negotiations.
He said Argentina’s sovereign right over the islands was based on Spanish sovereignty recognized by England. There had been a British commitment, in agreement with Spain, not to establish itself on the southern shores of South America. Argentina had continued the legal status taken over from Spain, maintaining sovereignty over the islands until its expulsion in 1833. The Special Committee was responsible for ending colonization and had recommended negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The two countries should engage promptly in negotiations to resolve the dispute.
Introduction of Draft Resolution
ALFREDO LABBE (Chile), introducing the draft resolution (document A/AC.109/2008/L.8) on behalf of Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela, said the text recognized that, due to the existence of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, the issue was a special and particular colonial question, different from other such situations. The only way to end it was through a negotiated settlement between both Governments.
Associating himself with the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and associated States, his country regretted that, despite the time elapsed and the numerous resolutions adopted by the United Nations, it had not been possible to initiate a direct diplomatic negotiation between the parties. Chile, like other Latin American countries present, supported Argentina’s rights in the sovereignty dispute. The upholding of colonial situations in the early twenty-first century was an anachronism that must be brought to an end. There was no valid reason to delay a solution and Chile therefore called once again on the parties to resume effective negotiations to that end as early as possible.
JORGE ENRIQUE TAIANA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, recalled that on 14 December 1960 the United Kingdom had voted against resolution 1514 (XV)), which had been adopted in defence of peoples subjected to or subjugated by a colonial Power. In resolution 2065 (XX) of 16 December 1965, the Assembly had decided that resolution 1514 applied also to the question of the Malvinas Islands.
He said that, given the sovereignty dispute, both Argentina and the United Kingdom had been invited to negotiate a peaceful solution, taking into account the provisions and objectives of the United Nations Charter, resolution 1514 and the interests of the islands’ inhabitants. The United Kingdom had engaged in a process of negotiations with Argentina, but, despite the progress made, which had led to the beginning of a solution whereby the United Kingdom would recognize Argentine sovereignty from a date to be agreed, the United Kingdom had become increasingly reluctant. “I come today to this Committee to reiterate once more before the international community the Argentine Republic’s inalienable rights over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.”
The archipelago was an integral part of the Argentine territory unlawfully occupied by the United Kingdom since 1833 by virtue of an act of force, he said. At that time, the Malvinas had been under the public, peaceful and effective dominion and administration of the Argentine State. The occupation had been carried out against the wishes of the inhabitants, who had been expelled and substituted by transplanted British subjects.
He said that, when the United Kingdom refused to negotiate with Argentina, invoking the self-determination principle and alleging that it would not do so as long as the British occupiers did not wish to do so, it sought to take advantage of resolution 1514 in order to perpetuate an anachronistic colonial situation to the detriment of the Argentine people’s legitimate rights. It thus violated Argentina’s territorial integrity, and the only way to end the dispute was through negotiations between the parties. The Argentine Government was committed, by a constitutional provision, to respect the islanders’ way of life.
The Argentine Government had reiterated its permanent willingness to negotiate in order to comply with the obligation equally imposed on both parties, he said. Nor was the Government reluctant to cooperate with the United Kingdom on practical aspects deriving from the de facto situation in the South Atlantic. For its part, the United Kingdom persisted in its refusal to negotiate, despite the fact that the United Nations had invariably asked for such negotiations. The United Kingdom considered itself to be beyond the appeals of the international community and the opinion of the United Nations.
The path to a fair and lasting solution started with negotiation, he said, adding that the beginning of that process had already taken much longer than it had in the vast majority of international disputes. The negotiation stages that had taken place as a result of resolution 2065 (XX) of 1965 had demonstrated that serious efforts on the part of both parties made a solution possible. That was why Argentina attached particular significance to the role that might be played by the Secretary-General’s good offices. “We see no other alternative. We have not heard any other proposal from Britain as to how to address the sovereignty dispute […] to find a solution through peaceful means in accordance with the international community’s mandate.”
GUSTAVO ALVAREZ ( Uruguay), speaking on behalf of member countries of MERCOSUR, reaffirmed their support for Argentina’s legitimate rights over the Malvinas Islands. In 1996, the Presidents of the MERCOSUR States, together with Bolivia and Chile, had adopted a declaration on the Malvinas, expressing their wish to see the protracted dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom resolved promptly in keeping with relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. That position had been reaffirmed by several subsequent meetings, including a 1999 meeting of the Common Market Council in Paraguay, which had also addressed the issue of aerial communications with the Malvinas. During a MERCOSUR Summit in December 2007, members had renewed their commitment to the Malvinas Declaration and reaffirmed their support for Argentina.
Underscoring that the adoption of unilateral measures was not compatible with United Nations resolutions, he asked that the situation be resolved as quickly as possible. As for the Lisbon Treaty, amending the instrument establishing the European Community to include the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich and surrounding maritime spaces was incompatible with Argentina’s legitimate rights and the existence of the sovereignty dispute. It was not MERCOSUR alone that supported Argentina’s legitimate rights over the Malvinas; in July 2007, the Parliament of MERCOSUR -– the organ representing the peoples of the bloc -– had issued a declaration supporting those rights and reiterating that the issue should be resolved promptly, in conformity with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Speaking in his national capacity, he reiterated Uruguay’s principled position, reaffirming its support for Argentine sovereignty over the islands and advocating a quick and peaceful resolution of the dispute. In line with resolutions of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, MERCOSUR, the Rio Group, the “Group of 77” developing countries and China and others, Uruguay had stated on numerous occasions its support for Argentina’s sovereignty over the islands, while encouraging the parties to resolve the dispute in a fair and final fashion.
Resolution 1514 distinguished between the right to self-determination and the principle of territorial integrity, he said. The right to self-determination had limits, and strict compliance with the Declaration on the Granting of Independence should be carried out with respect to territorial integrity of States. As shown by countless experts, Argentina had irrefutable rights over the islands inherited from Spain. The resolution of the colonial conflict would pave the way for new cooperation between the parties.
RODRIGO MALMIERCA DIAZ ( Cuba) reiterated his full support for Argentina’s position. Since the adoption of resolution 2065 40 years ago, the Malvinas question had remained under constant consideration by the United Nations, and the Special Committee had adopted 42 resolutions, in addition to the 10 adopted by the Assembly. Resolution 2065 defined the question clearly as a dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom concerning sovereignty over the islands, and stating clearly that the dispute should be settled through negotiations, taking into account the provisions and main objectives of the Charter and resolution 1514, as well as the interests of the island’s inhabitants.
He said the determination with which the Government and people of Argentina had endured in their rightful claim for the restitution of the usurped space was admirable. Ever since, the Government of Argentina had been willing to recover, through negotiations, the exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas, in accordance with the resolutions of the Special Committee and the General Assembly. Regrettably, notwithstanding calls in numerous resolutions, the international community did not seem to be any closer to a definitive resolution of the prolonged controversy. Cuba reiterated its unrestricted support to the legitimate right of Argentina, and urged the United Kingdom to take into account the repeated appeals by the Special Committee to hold negotiations and respond positively to Argentina’s willingness to advance bilateral negotiations for a just, peaceful and definitive solution to the dispute as soon as possible. Without a negotiated solution, no unilateral actions introducing modifications into the Territory’s situation should be carried out.
ELADIO LOIZAGA (Paraguay), aligning himself with MERCOSUR, reiterated his country’s support for Argentina and the principles the Special Committee had maintained regarding the protracted sovereignty dispute. From 1965 on, all pronouncements of the United Nations had been consistent. The Special Committee had adopted resolutions that established the existence of a particular colonial situation involving a sovereignty dispute which could only be resolved by negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom, taking into consideration the interests of the Territory’s inhabitants. Paragraph 6 of resolution 1514, which addressed the principle of territorial integrity, prevailed in this case over the principle of self-determination.
He said that, in the case of the Malvinas, the international community had established that the only way to end the dispute was by resuming bilateral negotiations, which was a responsibility for both parties. Paraguay called once again on the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to undertake a process of dialogue by resuming negotiations. Paraguay supported the draft resolution and trusted it would be adopted by consensus once again while hoping it could be implemented as early as possible.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil), expressing her country’s support for Argentine rights in the sovereignty dispute, said a dialogue between the two parties should establish the appropriate framework for negotiations, as repeatedly requested by the United Nations and the Organization of American States. A timely and peaceful solution to the dispute was also crucial to the “Zone of Peace and Cooperation in the South Atlantic”.
She expressed concern about recent initiatives that were evidently incompatible with the existence of a sovereignty dispute, stressing that the inclusion of the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich in the “Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories Regime” was incompatible with the legitimate rights of Argentina. Brazil regretted that the implementation of General Assembly resolutions on the need for negotiations that would include all aspects of the Territory’s future had not yet started.
JORGE VOTO-BERNALES (Peru), associating himself with MERCOSUR, said his country had consistently supported efforts to eliminate colonialism, and the characteristics of the question before the Special Committee compelled him to restate Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich as well as surrounding maritime spaces. Argentina had inherited the islands from Spain and had administered them until a foreign Power had ousted it in 1833. Now, the dispute could be resolved only through negotiations, and Peru urged the parties to resume negotiations.
In the context of his country’s unwavering commitment to peaceful solutions and legal settlements, he recalled the efforts made 26 years ago by a former President of Peru who had made a number of proposals aimed at seeing a resumption of dialogue during the 1982 conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom. There was no alternative to negotiations between the parties, and Peru reaffirmed its commitment to numerous declarations and communiqués on the matter, including those of MERCOSUR, the Organization of American States, and the Amero-Iberian Summit.
MARIA FERNANDA ESPINOSA ( Ecuador) reaffirmed her country’s support for Argentina’s legitimate rights in the sovereignty dispute and for the validity of all United Nations resolutions recognizing the existence of a colonial situation with special circumstances, in which paragraph 6 of resolution 1514 prevailed over the principle of self-determination. There could be no self-determination when a territory had been seized by force. Ending the sovereignty dispute would involve dialogue and cooperation between the parties.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said one of the main objectives of the United Nations was to ensure the greatest possible degree of self-government. Millions of people had therefore been able to free themselves from a colonial regime, a United Nations success story of which the Special Committee had been the main driving force. Notwithstanding that success, the Organization had not yet achieved the final goal of full decolonization as there were still 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories, of which the Malvinas was one.
He said the situation was a special colonial one which Argentina and the United Kingdom must resolve peacefully, in conformity with the United Nations Charter and the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Special Committee and the Organization of American States. Guatemala hoped to see a resumed dialogue between the two countries that would create the right framework in which the dispute could be resolved through direct negotiations.
RUPERT DAVIES ( Sierra Leone) said it was in the spirit of General Assembly resolution 637 -- which reaffirmed its recognition of self-determination as a prerequisite for the realization of all fundamental human rights -- that his delegation had repeatedly maintained that the rights of the islanders who had lived on the Territory for 175 years should be paramount in any negotiated settlement. Subjecting people to alien domination constituted a violation of their right to freely determine their political status and pursue development. There was no dispute that the people were the holders of the right to self-determination.
He said any solution that fell short of expressing the aspirations of the islanders would be inconsistent with the Millennium Declaration and Article 73(b) of the United Nations Charter, which stated categorically that “Members of the United Nations which have responsibilities for the administration of territories whose people have not yet attained full measures of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of those territories are paramount”. They were required to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the Territories’ peoples and to assist them in the progressive development of free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each Territory, its people and its stage of advancement. Peaceful resolution came about through dialogue and the commitment of all stakeholders to settle their differences amicably. Accordingly, Sierra Leone called on all parties to continue their dialogue to find a lasting solution, always bearing in mind the interests of the islanders.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said territorial disputes between countries should be resolved through peaceful negotiations, and expressed the hope that the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom would act in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, continue their constructive dialogue and work for an early peaceful and just solution to their dispute. China therefore supported the draft resolution before the Special Committee.
DENIS Y. PALETSKIY ( Russian Federation) said his delegation supported the draft resolution and hoped it would be adopted without a vote. There was a need for a fair and mutually acceptable settlement on the basis of bilateral negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom, taking into account the relevant decisions of the United Nations.
AURA MAHUAMPI RODRIQUEZ DE ORTIZ (Venezuela), associating herself with MERCOSUR, said her country, as well as Bolivia, Chile and Cuba and in keeping with the tradition of earlier years, had co-sponsored the draft before the Special Committee. Venezuela reaffirmed its full support for Argentina’s legitimate rights in the dispute. Talks to find a peaceful solution were the right way to tackle the issue. There was a need to take positive and constructive steps towards a peaceful solution of the dispute through effective negotiations carried out in the broadest possible way and with real resolve.
She added that the current status of mutual cooperation that had developed between the two countries offered the right conditions to find a satisfactory solution. The activities of the Special Committee aimed at implementing the relevant resolutions attested resoundingly to the international community’s interest in urging the parties to find a peaceful solution. The Secretary-General should continue his good offices to enable the parties to fulfil what had been requested in General Assembly resolutions.
MANAR TALEB ( Syria) said Argentina’s statement reaffirmed that country’s genuine intentions to resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner. In line with the positions of the Group of 77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement and the League of Arab States, Syria stressed that the principle of territorial integrity was sacrosanct in seeking solutions to sovereignty disputes. The adoption of the draft resolution by consensus would confirm once again the role of the international community in resolving the issue and its support for Argentina’s position regarding the peaceful settlement of the question. Direct negotiations between the two countries, which was the desire of Argentina, would lead to a suitable solution to the sovereignty dispute.
HERY SARIPUDIN ( Indonesia) said that there were no universal criteria that could be applied to every decolonization question. The case of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) was a good example whereby the historical and political background formed a particular and special dimension that differed from so-called “traditional” situations. Resolutions 2065 and 3160 took note of the existence of a sovereignty dispute over the islands between Argentina and the United Kingdom, and encouraged both parties to seek a peaceful resolution. Both texts also identified the need to accelerate negotiations in order to reach an early settlement. The resolutions clearly determined that the only way to end the colonial situation was through a peaceful and negotiated settlement in the best interests of the islanders.
He urged the resumption of negotiations in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions, based on the principle of territorial integrity and full acknowledgement of the interests of the Territory’s population. Indonesia was heartened to learn of the good relationship established between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom in various areas, as exemplified by the completion of the joint feasibility study on the clearance of landmines in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) on 5 October 2007, in follow-up to the 2001 Agreement. Indonesia encouraged both parties to use that good relationship as a foundation to resume talks and explore all possible means to find a peaceful and mutually acceptable solution. It was to be hoped that the draft resolution before the Special Committee would be adopted by consensus.
ROSEMARIE WELSH (Grenada) urged the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to continue negotiations, concentrating on the issues of genuine importance to the Territory and in the hope of finding the best possible solution to the current situation, in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter. Hopefully, the matter would be resolved to the benefit of the peoples of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).
HUGO SILES ALVARADO ( Bolivia), associating himself with MERCOSUR and associated States, said the dispute had received great attention, not only within the United Nations, but also in the Organization of American States and other regional and subregional organizations. It was to be hoped that a fair solution to the dispute could be achieved through dialogue between the parties. Bolivia reaffirmed its support for Argentina’s right of sovereignty over the islands in dispute and their surrounding maritime areas.
Stressing that any solution must be based on dialogue and mutual trust, he said the Malvinas dispute was not about a situation of self-determination, but one of territorial integrity. Every opportunity should be taken to restart serious negotiations, based on a constructive relationship between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom. As a co-sponsor of the draft resolution, Bolivia hoped the text would be adopted by consensus.
HABIB MANSOUR ( Tunisia) said the Special Committee had considered the Falklands (Malvinas) question for a number of years and, today, he came away with the same sense of a consensus that a just, peaceful and lasting solution must be found on the basis of international legality. All speakers today had referred to the principles of the Charter and the relevant resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Special Committee, which set the framework for a solution. The settlement could only be achieved through negotiations between the United Kingdom and Argentina. That was the expectation of the Special Committee, particularly taking into account the good relations between the two countries. For all those reasons, Tunisia supported the draft resolution before the Special Committee.
Action on Draft Resolutions
The Special Committee then approved, without a vote, the draft resolution entitled “Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)” (document A/AC.109/2008/L.8).
The Committee then approved, again without a vote, the draft resolution on implementation of the decolonization Declaration (Document A/AC.109/2008/L.10).
Acting once again without a vote, it approved the text on implementation of the decolonization Declaration by specialized agencies and institutions of the United Nations system (document A/AC.109/2008/L.11).
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in explanation of position after those actions, said his country had consistently supported effective realization of the Non-Self-Governing Territories’ right to self-determination and independence. With regard to the last text, however, the Russian Federation felt that the consideration of political issues by the Council would distract it from its main function of coordinating United Nations activities in the social and economic spheres. In that connection, the Russian Federation requested the deletion of a related item from the Council’s agenda. The Russian delegation had not blocked the Special Committee’s consensus approval of the item, but would be guided by its usual position during consideration of the issue in the Fourth Committee, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
Finally, the Special Committee approved, also without a vote, the draft resolution on the economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/AC.109/2008/L.12).
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