Special Committee on Decolonization Unanimously Approves Text Calling for Direct Negotiations over Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

18 June 2009
GA/COL/3196

Special Committee on Decolonization Unanimously Approves Text Calling for Direct Negotiations over Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

18 June 2009
General Assembly
GA/COL/3196
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Special Committee on

Decolonization

9th Meeting (AM)

special committee on decolonization unanimously approves text calling for direct

negotiations over falkland Islands (malvinas)

Members Hear from Foreign Minister of Argentina,

Petitioners, Including Members of Territorial Legislative Assembly

Having heard a statement by the Foreign Minister of Argentina in addition to petitioners from the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), the Special Committee on Decolonization recommended today that the General Assembly call for direct negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom over that Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Introducing the draft resolution, which the Special Committee approved without a vote, Chile’s representative said the text reflected the main elements of the doctrine formulated by the United Nations over the years with regard to the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).  It acknowledged the “special and particular colonial situation”, which differed from other colonial situations owing to the existence of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom.  The text also specified that the only way to put an end to the question was through a negotiated settlement of the dispute between the Governments of the two countries.

Noting that the text requested the parties to consolidate the process of dialogue and cooperation by resuming negotiations in pursuit of a solution, in accordance with United Nations resolutions on the subject, he expressed regret that, despite the time and numerous resolutions adopted by the United Nations to date, there had been no commencement of direct diplomatic negotiations between the parties with a view to finding a fair and definitive solution to the pending dispute relating to sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas.

Addressing the Special Committee prior to action on the draft, Jorge Taiana, Argentina’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, reiterated his country’s “solid and permanent protest” since 1833 over “what was a manifest eviction of the Argentine authorities and population present on the Islands at the time”.  The United Kingdom’s actions had fractured Argentina’s political unity and territorial integrity, by an act of usurpation which had been reaffirmed by the ensuing implantation of an alien population and systematic impediments blocking continental Argentines wishing to settle or own lands on the Islands.  That alien population could never be considered a subjugated population or one subjected to a colonial Power.  To pretend to apply the principle of self-determination to that population was a blunt distortion of reason, justice, law and history.

He pointed out that the United Kingdom called for the application of the principle of self-determination while simultaneously refusing to resume negotiations on sovereignty, thus ignoring the explicit and reiterated mandate of the international community.  The United Kingdom alleged that it would only accept a resumption of negotiations should the inhabitants of the Islands so wish, thereby ignoring the will of United Nations Member States.  That country was thus unilaterally introducing a precondition that did not figure in any of the relevant resolutions.  For its part, Argentina reiterated its willingness to negotiate on the basis of international law, the principles of the United Nations Charter and the provisions of numerous resolutions.

Petitioner Richard Stevens, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), said in that regard that it would be unfair to apply sovereignty rights to the Falklands case alone.  “Imagine every country complying with these demands with every international border reverting back to how it was in 1833.  Would America for example, return part of California to Mexico, or Russia demand Alaska?”  That view of territorial integrity would also lead to unbelievable global chaos.

He went on to say that whoever would be elected to the Legislative Assembly toward the end of 2009 would come to power with a strong mandate regarding the Islands’ right to self-determination.  They would ask the Special Committee to examine Argentina’s rhetoric, regardless of that country’s size and influence, and recognize the islanders’ right, as a small community, to live lives of their own choice rather than being swallowed up by an alien Power that saw them as impostors in their own land.

Another Member of the Legislative Council, Janet Robertson, said there were fundamental reasons why there was “no foreseeable prospect” that the United Kingdom would agree to negotiate.  Argentina asserted that the principle of self-determination was not applicable due to the pre-existing sovereignty dispute, and that the principle of territorial integrity was of superior validity to that of self-determination.

Annexation by the Argentine State was, therefore, the only acceptable solution to the Government of Argentina, a goal enshrined in its Constitution, she said.  That pre-determined outcome was wholly contrary to the wishes and interests of the islanders and, consequently, unacceptable to the United Kingdom.  A resumption of negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom, without the participation and agreement of the islanders, could not, by definition, lead to a peaceful solution.

Addressing the Committee on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), the representative of Paraguay said the grouping and its associated States had repeatedly reaffirmed Argentina’s legitimate right in the dispute, a position supported by representatives of several Latin American countries.  They had expressed full support for Argentina’s just claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and adjoining maritime areas, and urged the resumption of negotiations between Argentina and United Kingdom with a view to finding a peaceful and final settlement to the sovereignty dispute.

Sierra Leone representative, however, while encouraging the parties to engage in peaceful dialogue, taking into account the interests and wishes of the islanders, expressed support for the right of the islanders to exercise their right to self-determination.

Other speakers were representatives of China, Russian Federation, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Indonesia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Grenada, Tunisia and Saint Lucia.

Also addressing the Special Committee were two Argentinean petitioners: Dolores Reynolds and Marcelo Luis Vernet.

The Special Committee will continue its debate on the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) at 10 a.m. Friday, 19 June, when it is also expected to take up the situation in all 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Background

The Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples met this morning to hear petitioners on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).  Before it was a Secretariat working paper on the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) (document A/AC.109/2009/13) outlining constitutional and political developments, as well as progress on mine clearance, economic and social conditions, and the future status of the Territory, among other things.

A new Constitution was approved in 2008 and entered into force on 1 January 2009, the working paper says.  According to the administering Power, the new document, as compared with the 1985 Constitution, enhances local democracy, establishes a greater degree of internal self-government and provides greater transparency and accountability, such as through the creation of a Public Accounts Committee and a Complaints Commissioner.  Moreover, it is in line with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  By its terms, the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly, may make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Territory, but full power to make laws is reserved for the British Crown.

On 6 November 2008, the paper states, the Government of Argentina protested against a “unilateral act” by the United Kingdom “whereby it claims to have adopted a new ‘constitution’ for the Malvinas Islands”, in disregard of General Assembly and Special Committee resolutions and in “violation of the spirit of the provisional understandings under the sovereign formula” reached by Argentina and the United Kingdom.  In response, the United Kingdom rejected those assertions on 3 December 2008.

The paper says that on 28 November 2008, the Ninth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction -- known as the Ottawa Convention -- decided by consensus to grant the United Kingdom an extension until 1 March 2019 to complete mine clearance.  At that meeting, the United Kingdom announced its intent to clear three mined areas and set up a national mine action authority.

According to the working paper, the representative of the United Kingdom noted, in a letter to the Assembly President dated 26 September 2008, that the Falkland Islands are not a colonial enclave.  Their inhabitants have chosen to retain their link with the United Kingdom and there can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Islands unless the islanders wish to do so.  In his New Year’s message to the Territory in January 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown restated his commitment to the islanders’ right to self-determination against the backdrop of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the conflict over the islands between the United Kingdom and Argentina.

The paper recalls that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina criticized the United Kingdom in her 23 September 2008 address to the General Assembly, for resolutely refusing to discuss the issue of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Territory, requesting that the United Nations once again urge the United Kingdom to comply with international law and demonstrate a serious wish to build a different world and a different citizenry.  At a meeting of the Special Committee on 12 June 2008, Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Taiana, reiterated his country’s inalienable rights over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas, unlawfully occupied by the United Kingdom through an act of force.

In a draft resolution on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), the Special Committee recommends that the General Assembly reiterate that the way to end the special and particular colonial situation of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) is through a peaceful negotiated settlement of the sovereignty dispute between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom.  The Assembly would, by other terms of the draft (contained in document A/AC.109/2009/L.8), take note of the views expressed by the President of Argentina and express 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 Assembly would further request the two Governments to consolidate the current process of dialogue and cooperation through the resumption of negotiations in order to find a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute as soon as possible.

Petitioners

RICHARD STEVENS, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), said the Argentines would argue on four main topics:  the Spanish colonial claim inherited at independence in 1816; the brief partial and sporadic post-independence occupation before 1833; the Islands’ proximity to Argentina; and the transient nature of the Falklands population.  It would be unfair to determine sovereignty rights by those arguments and apply them to the Falklands case alone, but otherwise, the implications would be huge.

“Imagine every country complying with these demands with every international border reverting back to how it was in 1833,” he said, asking whether the United States, for example, would return part of California to Mexico, or the Russian Federation demand Alaska.  Such claims of territorial integrity would also mean unbelievable global chaos.  It was better to concentrate on the islanders and their achievements, while demonstrating how they had earned their right to determine their own future.

He said that, while the islanders were accused by Argentina of being an itinerant, planted people shipped in by the British, their historic diversity continued to the present time, with individuals and families hailing from all over the world.  They had a strong identity and knew the people who had built the Territory, from its roads, farms, shops and hotels to its businesses and modern private sector.  All reasonable nations looked to negotiations as the way forward in the modern world, but Argentina was talking about the islanders’ total capitulation, a completely different concept.

Argentina would introduce the modern equivalent of the very thing that the Special Committee had been created to dissolve, he continued.  Whoever was elected to the Legislative Assembly towards year’s end would come to power with a strong mandate regarding the Islands’ right to self-determination.  They would ask the Special Committee to examine Argentina’s rhetoric, regardless of its size and influence, and recognize the islanders’ right, as a small community, to live lives of their own choice rather than be swallowed up by an alien Power that saw them as impostors in their own land.

JANET ROBERTSON, Member of the Legislative Assembly, said there were fundamental reasons why there was no foreseeable prospect that the United Kingdom would agree to negotiate.  First of all, the islanders’ right to self-determination had been extended through the Constitution.  Argentina asserted that the principle of self-determination was not applicable to the Falkland Islands due to a pre-existing sovereignty dispute and that the principle of territorial integrity was of superior validity to the principle of self-determination.  The Argentine State’s annexation of the Islands was therefore the only acceptable solution to the Government of Argentina and, as such, was a goal enshrined in its Constitution.  That predetermined outcome was wholly contrary to the wishes and interests of the islanders and consequently unacceptable to the United Kingdom.

She said that a resumption of negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom without the participation and agreement of the inhabitants could not, by definition, lead to a peaceful solution unless the express wishes of the islanders were deliberately and cynically silenced by force.  While there was no apparent threat of a repetition of Argentina’s 1982 invasion, it was evident that other types of force were an ongoing facet of relations between the two countries, thereby pre-empting peaceful negotiations.  They included withdrawal from regional cooperation on fisheries and hydrocarbons until such time as sovereignty was placed on the agenda; the ban on charter flights across Argentine airspace unless Argentine carriers were used to and from Argentine airfields; and the insistence on the use of “Puerto Argentino” instead of “ Stanley” for the Territory’s capital.  Those actions pointed to a level of aggression that was not peacefully intended.

Such actions made peaceful cooperation on areas of mutual interest an ever-receding dream in the South Atlantic, she continued.  Argentina claimed that those actions were in response to “unilateral” actions by the Government of the United Kingdom, such as the extension of its fisheries licensing regime to include 25‑year fishing quotas.  In fact, those legitimate measures were the result of the Falkland Islands Government using its powers to develop long-term protection and development of its fisheries and represented sound management practices for the benefit of the islanders and the environment.  Resolutions on the questions of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) were alone in referring, not to the inalienable right of the respective inhabitants to self-determination, but merely to the interests of the population.

It had never been clearly established why the Special Committee considered that, of all remaining denominated colonial peoples in the world, only Gibraltarians and Falkland Islanders were denied that right, she said.  When a 2008 meeting of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) had approved an amendment to remove a recent insertion into a draft resolution –- thus qualifying the principle of self-determination with the words “and where there is no dispute over sovereignty” –-delegates speaking in favour of the motion had expressed their deepest concern at the attempt to qualify one of the principles of the United Nations Charter.  In any case, the principle of self-determination did not apply to the Falkland Islands.  The Argentine occupation had been very brief, having occurred while their ownership was in plain and documented dispute.  Therefore, the Territory had never formed a part of Argentina.  They existed as a political entity in its current form for considerable time before the establishment of Argentina’s modern boundaries in the mid-nineteenth century.

DOLORES REYNOLDS, an Argentine economist, said she graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires and was a direct descendent of Tomas Bridges, an Anglican pastor whose name was intimately linked with the history of the Malvinas Islands and Tierra del Fuego.

Stressing that she had spent her childhood in that province of South Argentina, she said there were many deep links between the islanders and the Argentine mainland, and her family’s story illustrated those links.  Many British people who had arrived after 1833 understood that the two lands were linked by powerful bonds.  The Argentine Republic’s just claim of sovereignty had been taken by force.

She said members of her family and other inhabitants, as well as many British inhabitants, had made a contribution to the culture and life of Argentina.  The islanders’ isolation was absurd in the present era of globalization, and everybody would benefit from an end to it.  Integration with the Argentine Republic would help provide many benefits, including in the areas of energy, public health, education, tourism and vibrant culture.  The Special Committee should insist that the United Kingdom resume negotiations.

MARCELO LUIS VERNET said that, as a citizen of Argentina, he was tied to the Islands through family history.  The Malvinas were naturally Argentine land and, since 1824, they had “an estancia”, with workers arriving from all corners of Argentina.  “We were the people of the Malvinas”, who had formed a hard-working and hospitable population.  An ancestor, Luis Vernet, had been a military commander on the Islands, monitoring compliance with fishing rules.

“Our land was stolen from us by an imperial Power for its own interests, but the Malvinas remained an Argentine land,” he said, stressing that usurpation was a violation not only of civil and political rights, but also of natural law.  The sacred duty of the Argentine nation was to ensure the integrity of its name and respect for its rights.  The Soledad and Malvina Islands were symbols of national identity and the name “Malvina” was very popular in Argentina.  Those truths could not be invented or imposed.

One could not refuse to recognize that there was a sovereignty conflict, he said.  Argentina’s Constitution contained a temporary clause which conveyed its conviction of the rightful nature of its claim.  The clause was temporary because the country hoped the Islands would be returned.  However, the Constitution also referred to respect for the Malvinas way of life.  The inhabitants were also part of the Islands’ history.  They were citizens of the usurping nation, living on the usurped land, but if one asked their names, one would discover that their fathers were English workers who had arrived during the industrial revolution, without land or future.

He said their history was very similar to that of his own predecessors, adding that people could think alike and work together.  One of the possible ends to the story was that the two peoples’ respective grandchildren could go to the port of Soledad to recognize the first Argentine settler on the Islands.  They might fall in love, thus closing a wide circle.  The Special Committee should promote constructive dialogue between Argentina and the United Kingdom to find a peaceful, just and lasting solution to the sovereignty dispute.

Statements

HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile) introduced the draft resolution on the “Question of the Falklands Islands (Malvinas)” (document A/AC.109/2009/L.8), saying it reflected the main elements of the doctrine formulated by the United Nations over the years with regard to that question.  The text acknowledged the special and particular colonial situation, which differed from others because of the existence of a sovereignty dispute between the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom.  It also specified that the only way to put an end to that question was a negotiated settlement of the dispute.

He expressed regret that, despite the time and numerous resolutions adopted to date, direct diplomatic negotiations between the parties had not commenced.  Chile endorsed fully the statement to be made by the delegation of Paraguay on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) countries and associated States.  Like other Latin American countries, Chile supported Argentina’s rights in the sovereignty dispute.

The issue was of concern to the Western Hemisphere, he said, noting that the thirty-ninth General Assembly of the Organization of American States, held in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on 2-4 June, had adopted resolution AG/DEC 61, “Declaration on the Question of the Malvinas Islands”.  The issue was also a matter of concern to the Ibero-American community.   Chile reiterated that there was no valid reason for delaying the solution to the Malvinas question.

JORGE TAIANA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, reiterated his country’s “solid and permanent protest” since 1833 over “what was a manifest eviction of the Argentine authorities and population present on the Islands at the time”.  The land had been under Argentine sovereignty and peaceful and uninterrupted rule, when in 1833 it had been seized by the United Kingdom, thus fracturing the political unity and territorial integrity of the Argentine Republic.  Argentina had never consented to that act of usurpation, which had been reaffirmed with the ensuing implantation of an alien population and systematic impediment to continental Argentines settling or owning land on the Islands.  That population could never be considered a subjugated population or one subject to a colonial Power.  To pretend to apply the principle of self-determination to that population was a blunt distortion of reason, justice, law and history.

Noting that that the United Kingdom called for the application of the principle of self-determination while simultaneously refusing to resume negotiations on sovereignty, he said it thus ignored the explicit and reiterated mandate of the international community, as contained in successive resolutions of the United Nations, the Organization of American States and many other forums.  The United Kingdom alleged that it would only accept a resumption of negotiations if the islanders so wished, ignoring the will of United Nations Member States.  It was thus unilaterally introducing a precondition that did not figure in any of the relevant resolutions, seeking to benefit from General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), distorting its interpretation and altering its primary goal, which was none other than ending colonial situations rather than perpetuating them.

He said that subjecting the resumption of negotiations to the dispute to the “wish” of the islanders was nothing but a trick to which the United Kingdom resorted in order to elude the United Nations imperative.  Argentina reiterated its commitment to the right of self-determination but rejected the manipulation of that key principle by a Member State, in favour of a population artificially implanted by that country in a land usurped from Argentina by force, and which formed an indivisible part of Argentine territory.  Argentina was not alone in that line of reasoning; the General Assembly had unequivocally ratified the applicability of the principle of territorial integrity to the “Question of the Malvinas Islands” each time that the United Kingdom had sought to include references to the principle of self-determination in draft resolutions on that matter.

The United Kingdom had carried out unilateral actions in the disputed area, distorting the bilateral cooperation agreed under the sovereignty formula, he said.  Among those actions were the illicit application of a quota regime on fisheries resources, the illegitimate granting of licences to carry out hydrocarbon activities, and the British refusal to carry out non-scheduled flights between mainland Argentina and the Malvinas Islands.  The United Kingdom had also attempted to include parts of the Argentine national territory in its submission to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and erected a military base on the Islands.  Those actions violated the mandate contained in Assembly resolution 31/49 (1976), which called upon the parties to refrain from taking decisions that would imply the introduction of unilateral modifications while the Islands were going through the process recommended by the United Nations.

He said his country had immediately protested the “constitution” that the United Kingdom had granted to the Islands in November 2008, yet another unilateral action on a part of Argentine territory that contravened United Nations resolutions.  The United Kingdom pretended to disguise, behind a supposedly “modern” or “post-colonial” constitutionalism, a colonial situation of special and particular characteristics resulting from the usurpation of Argentine territory by force, the expulsion of a local population and its replacement by one of British origin.  Argentina expected the United Kingdom to pursue the path of dialogue in compliance with what had been established by the international community in many resolutions.  For its part, Argentina reiterated its permanent willingness to negotiate on the basis of international law, the principles of the Charter and the provisions of numerous resolutions.

ELADIO LOIZAGA (Paraguay), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said MERCOSUR and associated States had reaffirmed repeatedly since the group’s creation the legitimate right of the Argentine Republic in the dispute regarding the Question of the Malvinas Islands.  At a meeting in June 1996 the Presidents of the MERCOSUR member countries, as well as the Presidents of Bolivia and Chile, had approved the “Declaración Sobre las Malvinas”, which recorded that the interests of the Hemisphere backed a resolution to the dispute and urged that the two Governments find a quick resolution in conformity with the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

That position had been repeated in June 1999, when the sixteenth meeting of MERCOSUR had approved a new declaration and repeated their commitment to urge the two Governments to resume negotiations.  More recently, at the last Summit of MERCOSUR in Salvador, Brazil, in December 2008, the group had reaffirmed the terms of the 1996 Declaration and repeated their support for Argentina’s legitimate rights in the sovereignty dispute.  It had also said that unilateral measures were not compatible with decisions of the United Nations.  MERCOSUR urged the Special Committee to call on the two Governments to resume negotiations and quickly find a just solution to their long dispute.

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) noted that the General Assembly and Special Committee had always paid attention to the question of the Falklands (Malvinas) and passed resolutions appealing to Argentina and the United Kingdom to engage in negotiations in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.  That reflected the aspiration of the overwhelming majority of the United Nations membership.  China always held that territorial disputes should be resolved through peaceful negotiations, a principle that should be promoted by the international community.  Hopefully the United Kingdom and Argentina would continue to engage in peaceful, constructive dialogue on the question of the Falklands (Malvinas) in pursuit of a peaceful and fair resolution of the issue.

VICTORIA SULIMANI ( Sierra Leone) reaffirmed her delegation’s commitment to the principle of self-determination of all peoples, noting that colonialism in all its forms and manifestations was incompatible with the principles of the Charter, Chapter 11 of which ensured the responsibility of administrating Powers to promote the well-being of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.  It was in that spirit that Sierra Leone supported the position that the population of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) should be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination.

Sierra Leone believed equally that the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom should be resolved through peaceful means, in accordance with relevant resolutions, she said.  The two countries should be encouraged to engage in peaceful dialogue, taking into account the interests and wishes of the islanders.  At the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, Sierra Leone remained committed to decolonization, believing that self-determination was a prerequisite for the realization of fundamental human rights

KONSTANTIN DOLGOV ( Russian Federation) voiced support for the draft resolution, saying he hoped it would be approved without a vote.  Hopefully it would be in accordance with the framework of bilateral negotiations and resolutions adopted by the General Assembly.

BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria) said the statement by the Argentine Minister showed his country’s desire for a peaceful settlement of the issue.  Today’s meeting reaffirmed Argentina’s importance to the tasks of the Special Committee.  The statement also showed Argentina’s belief in democracy in international relations, which was a foundation of that country’s foreign policy.

He said his country agreed with the stance taken at the Arab-Latin American Summit, held in Doha in March 2009, as well that taken by the “Group of 77” developing countries and China and the Non-Aligned Movement.   Syria supported the draft resolution and believed that its approval by consensus would reaffirm the international community’s role in resolving the issue.  The resumption of dialogue and meetings between the two Governments would help lead to a solution.

JORGE VALERO (Venezuela), endorsing the MERCOSUR statement, said his country was among the co-sponsors of the draft resolution, as in previous years, and reiterated its full support for Argentina’s just claim of legitimate sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, as well as adjoining maritime areas.  Venezuela also reaffirmed that resuming bilateral negotiations for a peaceful, just and lasting solution to the dispute was the right way to resolve the anachronistic colonial situation of the Malvinas.  Its firm support of that position had been ratified once again in a joint declaration issued during a visit by President Hugo Chavez to Argentina in May.

At the multilateral level, there had been successive resolutions of the United Nations and statements of the Organization of American States, he noted.  Many other forums had urged a prompt solution to the long sovereignty dispute, in support of Argentina’s claims.  “We must insist on the need to put an end, as contained in many resolutions on the question of the Malvinas Islands, to the long sovereignty dispute between Argentina and United Kingdom.”  In that context, Venezuela encouraged the good offices conferred by the General Assembly and the Secretary-General, aimed at bringing the parties closer together.

He went on to say that 176 years had passed since the act that had disrupted Argentina’s territorial unity and integrity.  At that time, the United Kingdom had expelled the population, practising expansion.  The Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands belonged to Argentina, and Venezuela supported the statement by that country’s Foreign Minister, who had justly shown that his country’s claim was entirely just.

ABELARDO MORENO ( Cuba) said the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) was among the issues that had been, for the longest time, under permanent consideration by the United Nations.  The Special Committee had approved 43 draft resolutions on that matter, and the General Assembly had adopted 10 resolutions.  As defined in resolution 2065 (XX), the question of the Malvinas involved a dispute over the sovereignty of the Islands between Argentina and the United Kingdom.  It was clearly stipulated that the dispute should be settled through negotiations, taking into account the objectives and provisions of the Charter, as well as the interests of the islanders.  It was a fact that the Malvinas had been occupied in 1833 by the United Kingdom, which had then forcefully expelled the population settled there, subsequently replacing Argentine settlers with British ones.  Now Argentine citizens were not even allowed to return or settle on the Islands.

Since then, he said, the Argentine Government had been willing to recover, through negotiations, the exercise of its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, in accordance with relevant resolutions.  Regrettably, despite continuous calls by the Special Committee and various Assembly resolutions, a definitive solution to the long sovereignty dispute was no closer today.  Cuba reiterated its support for Argentina’s legitimate right in the dispute over the Islands, which were part of that Latin American sister nation.  The support had been reiterated at the highest levels and in different regional forums, such as the Rio Group, the Iberoamerican Community of Nations and the South American Community of Nations.

He reiterated his country’s call for a negotiated, just and definitive solution to the dispute at the earliest possible time, taking into account both respect for Argentine territorial integrity and recognition of the islanders’ interests.  Cuba urged the United Kingdom to consider the successive calls by the Special Committee to hold negotiations and give a positive response to Argentina’s reiterated willingness to renew the bilateral negotiations process.  There must be no unilateral actions modifying the situation of the Islands.  As one of the co-sponsors of the draft, Cuba called upon all members of the Special Committee to support it so it could be approved without a vote.

HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) said the historical and political background of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) case formed a particular and special dimension that differed from so-called traditional situations.  Resolutions 2065 (XX) and 3160 (XXVIII) took note of the existence of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, and encouraged both parties to seek a peaceful solution to the problem.  Both resolutions also identified the need to accelerate negotiations for an early settlement.

Other relevant United Nations resolutions provided guidance on the need to address the case by means of a peaceful negotiated settlement, in the best interests of the islanders, he said, adding that his country therefore urged the resumption of negotiations, in accordance with relevant resolutions and decisions, and based on the principle of territorial integrity and full acknowledgement of the interests of the Islands’ population.  Indonesia was heartened to learn of the good relationship established between the two Governments in various areas, and wished to encourage both parties to use that good relationship as a foundation for resuming negotiations and exploring all possible means towards a peaceful and mutually acceptable solution.

PABLO SOLON ROMERO (Bolivia), noting that his country was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution and endorsed the MERCOSUR statement, urged the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations and quickly find a just solution to their dispute.  The country that had refused dialogue in that situation enjoyed a privileged seat on the Security Council and the Falklands (Malvinas) situation confirmed that the existence of permanent members was no safeguard of peaceful solutions to conflict.  Permanent membership should be abolished in the twenty-first century.

MARIA FERNANDA ESPINOSA ( Ecuador) endorsed the MERCOSUR statement and noted that since 1945, the Argentine Republic had reaffirmed, within the United Nations, its international right to the Malvinas.   Ecuador supported consensus approval of the draft before the Special Committee and urged both parties to resume talks as soon as possible.  Bolivia also urged the United Kingdom to meet the appeals of the United Nations.

DESSIMA M. WILLIAMS ( Grenada) said she had heard the long and entwined history of the region and lamented the fact that unresolved issues from previous centuries had been carried into the twenty-first century.  The numerous resolutions passed by the United Nations on the Falklands (Malvinas) issue should guide the Special Committee.  Grenada called for a resumption of talks between the two Governments and looked forward to consensus approval of the draft resolution.

Action on Draft

As the draft resolution was presented for action, the representative of Saint Lucia, speaking in explanation of position, proposed that the last preambular paragraph, reaffirming the need for the parties to take due account of the interests of the Islands’ population, should be included in the operative part of the text in order add “give weight and substance” to it.

The representative of Chile said that in order to continue with the Special Committee’s work, his delegation favoured maintaining the text as presented.

The representative of Saint Lucia responded by saying he was not suggesting a change in language, but wished to highlight something that was dealt with “almost en passant”.

The representatives of Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Grenada voiced their support for the text in its original form, saying it reflected practically all concerns and points of view expressed during consultations.  Perhaps the suggestions made would be considered in the future, but for now, members of the Special Committee should support the text, which traditionally was approved by consensus.

The representative of Grenada added in that regard his country’s concerns could be identified in other parts of the text.

MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) Chair of the Special Committee, said those comments would be duly reflected in the meeting’s records.

Acting without a vote, the Special Committee then approved the draft resolution on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

Explanations of Vote

Mr. DONATUS KEITH ST. AIMEE (Saint Lucia) said he had never said that he did not want the draft resolution approved by consensus, but had made a constructive suggestion, and was disappointed that his remarks had been interpreted to mean he was against the draft.   Saint Lucia hoped to have an opportunity in a future statement to explain its difficulties with the text.

JALEL SNOUSSI ( Tunisia) welcomed the consensus approval, saying it showed the international community’s commitment to solving the matter definitively.   Tunisia hoped the two Governments would return to the negotiating table in pursuit of a just solution.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.