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GA/COL/3361
23 June 2022
2022 Session, 7th Meeting (AM)

Special Committee Approves Text Requesting Governments of Argentina, United Kingdom Resume Talks to Resolve Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Sovereignty Dispute

The Special Committee on Decolonization today adopted a resolution requesting the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to consolidate the current process of dialogue through the resumption of negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute relating to the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)[1].

By the terms of the text titled “Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)”, which was adopted without a vote, the Special Committee regretted that, despite the widespread international support for a negotiation between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom, the implementation of the General Assembly resolutions on this question has not yet started.

By other terms, it reiterated that the way to put an end to 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 two Governments.

The representative of Chile, introducing the text, noted that the question under consideration is a highly sensitive issue for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, who have expressed support for the legitimate rights of Argentina in multiple regional forums.  The draft resolution reflects the key principles established by the United Nations to resolve this special and particular case, she said, pointing to the need for a negotiated solution.

Prior to approving the resolution, petitioners on both sides of the question presented their perspectives to the Special Committee.

“We are a modern people with a distinct national identity and culture,” Leona Roberts, who identified herself as one of the elected representatives of the Government of the Falkland Islands, said, expressing concern about “the colonial ambitions of our aggressive neighbour.”  Inviting the Special Committee to send a fact-finding mission to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), she said the population of fewer than 3,500 people is made up of more than 60 nationalities, very far from the “implanted population” that Argentina proclaims.

However, another petitioner, Maria Mercedes Moyano Walker, cited long-standing ties between island-dwellers and those in mainland Argentina.  Her own great-grandparents were born on the Malvinas Islands and eventually chose mainland Argentina as their home, she said, adding that it is crucial that the United Kingdom return to the negotiating table with Argentina in order to resolve this “special and particular case”.

Santiago Andrés Cafiero, Argentina’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, also addressed the Special Committee, stressing that the right to self-determination is not applicable to the question of the Malvinas Islands, because the composition of the population of the Islands is the outcome of the United Kingdom’s colonization.  Inviting that State to resume negotiations to end the sovereignty dispute, he recalled the 16 years of negotiations that started in 1966 and how the United Kingdom changed its position, making resumption of talks contingent upon consent of the Islands’ inhabitants.

He also expressed concern about the British colonial Government’s granting of unilateral long-term fishing licenses in the surrounding areas of Malvinas Islands as well as its unjustified and disproportioned military presence, and the conduct of regular exercises, including missiles launchings.  The world cannot remain indifferent to those actions, which alters the South Atlantic, “a zone of peace and cooperation”, he underscored.

Many delegates weighed in on the issue as well, including members of the Special Committee — formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.  The representative of Bolivia, speaking on behalf of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), stressing the importance of resuming negotiations, pointed to the need to consolidate a zone of peace in the Latin America and Caribbean, where differences between nations are resolved peacefully.

Many representatives of countries from the region expressed support for the rights of Argentina, with Cuba’s delegate, who also called for a negotiated solution which takes into account the need to respect Argentina’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, emphasizing that conducting military exercises in the South Atlantic runs counter to the region’s declaration of itself as a zone of peace.

Also urging parties to refrain from unilateral modifications, Colombia’s delegate highlighted the significant trade ties between Argentina and the United Kingdom, their work together in international forums and their shared common values, as he supported the call for dialogue.

Pakistan’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” and China, echoed those words, stressing the right of Argentina to take legal action against unauthorized hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in the area, as well as other unilateral actions taken in the area where the dispute exists.  Calling on the two Governments to resume negotiations, he underlined the principle of territorial integrity.

However, Sierra Leone’s representative proposed that the Special Committee take a case-by-case approach that prioritizes the wishes, aspirations and well-being of the inhabitants of the Islands.  It is vital to ensure that the rights of the Islanders to freely determine their political status and pursue their development remain sacrosanct, she said, adding that any solution short of this will not be durable and sustainable.

Also speaking today were representatives of Venezuela, Iraq, Timor-Leste, Ecuador, Russian Federation, Syria, Indonesia, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, China, Mexico, Paraguay (speaking also on behalf of the Southern Common Market) Guatemala, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Peru, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Honduras, South Africa and Serbia.

The Special Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 24 June, to take action on all outstanding drafts.

Question of Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

LEONA ROBERTS, identifying herself as one of the elected representatives of the Government of the Falkland Islands, said she was speaking “to defend our tiny, democratic and freedom-loving country against the colonial ambitions of our aggressive neighbour.”  Inviting the Special Committee to send a fact-finding mission to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), she said the fact that the Argentine Government so vehemently opposes such a mission speaks volumes.  “We are a modern people with a distinct national identity and culture,” she said, adding that the population of less than 3,500 people is made up of more than 60 nationalities, very far from the “implanted population” that Argentina proclaims.  Noting that the people of the Territory have their own Constitution and are financially independent, she recalled the hard work of her ancestors and living through the Argentine invasion as a 10-year-old child.

GAVIN SHORT, identifying himself as a democratically elected representative of the Government and people of the Falkland Islands — whose family have lived there for 173 years — said the islands are an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.  “Our desire to retain the status quo was demonstrated clearly in the March 2013 referendum, when 99.8 per cent voted to remain just that,” he said.  Urging the Special Committee to look inward and reflect upon its core principals — “as some seem to have lost sight of them” — he said speakers today will unashamedly support Argentina’s colonial ambition to override the wishes of the people of the Falkland Islands “and force themselves upon us”.  Those parties only wish to see colonialism return to the South Atlantic, he stressed, also asking members to send a visiting mission to the Territory.  While some speakers today will also call for a peaceful solution, he stressed that peace has already existed in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) for 40 years, self-determination is actively practiced and natural resources are managed responsibly.  “It will be the people of the Falkland Islands, and only the people of the Falkland Islands, who decide their political future,” he added.

MARÍA CLARA VERNET, describing herself as a people’s educator, said “the Malvinas are the cause of the Argentinian people”.  Outlining the Territory’s history, she said an 1829 decree named Louis Vernet commander on behalf of Argentina.  Those original settlers — her own family — were soon joined by more and more others.  While today the United Kingdom claims that the Territory had no inhabitants before its settlers arrived, her own family’s history proves otherwise.  Indeed, the illegal British occupation was one imposed by force, she stressed, adding:  “We know that we have right on our side”.

MARIA MERCEDES MOYANO WALKER, petitioner, said her great-grandparents were born on the Malvinas Islands and eventually chose mainland Argentina as their home.  “What happened wasn’t simple,” she said, noting that the General Assembly has acknowledged the existence of a sovereignty dispute relating to the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.  Citing longstanding ties between island-dwellers and those in mainland Argentina, she said those residing in the latter fully respect islanders’ way of life.  However, those strong ties are being eroded by the United Kingdom.  “It is absolutely vital that the United Kingdom return to the negotiating table with Argentina” in order to resolve the Territory’s “special and particular case”, she stressed.

The representative of Chile, introducing the draft resolution on “Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)” (document A/AC.109/2022/L.8), said it reflects the key principles established by the United Nations to resolve this special and particular case and bring about a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute regarding the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces.  Noting that the question under consideration is a highly sensitive issue for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, she pointed to the support expressed for the legitimate rights of Argentina by multiple regional forums.  The draft resolution recognizes the need for a negotiated solution to the existing dispute and calls upon both Parties to strengthen cooperation to that end.  “The Malvinas question is one of the expression of colonialism that the international community must put an end to,” she said, requesting delegates to adopt the text by consensus.

SANTIAGO ANDRÉS CAFIERO, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, underlined the relevance of the question of the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces for his country, as well as Argentina’s unrelinquished commitment to the recovery of its full exercise of sovereignty in those Territories.  Noting that Argentina inherited its rights from Spain in 1810, he outlined the Islands’ history since that point, pointing out that his country’s position has remained consistent for centuries — unlike that of the United Kingdom, whose views and behaviour have changed over time.  Beginning in 1966 and for 16 years, both parties negotiated to reach a diplomatic solution to the dispute.  However, those negotiations were interrupted, and the United Kingdom changed its position, making its resumption of talks contingent upon consent of the inhabitants of the Islands.

In doing so, he continued, the United Kingdom disregards what has been established by the General Assembly and ignores that — in this case — there is no people subject to subjugation, domination and colonial exploitation.  On the contrary, the composition of the population of the Islands is the outcome of the United Kingdom’s colonization.  The right to self-determination is therefore not applicable to the question of the Malvinas Islands, he said, emphasizing that “military victories grant no rights”.  Argentina continues to invite the United Kingdom to resume negotiations to end the sovereignty dispute, he stressed, noting that the Malvinas is not only a national cause but a call by the international community supported by numerous pronouncements of the Organization of American States (OAS), the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), the System of the Central American Integration and the Ibero-American Summit, among other regional and international forums.

Noting that Argentina provided the islanders medical supplies and humanitarian flights during the worst moments of the COVID-19 pandemic, he went on to express concern that the British colonial government grants unilateral long-term fishing licenses in the surrounding areas of Malvinas Islands, and persists in the exploration and in its plans to exploit non-renewable resources — “which are not its property”.  The United Kingdom keeps in the Islands an unjustified and disproportioned military presence, conducting regular manoeuvres and exercises, including missiles launchings.  In addition, there are ships which could carry and utilize nuclear arms.  Voicing concern over the possible eventual presence of nuclear arms on the Islands, he said the world cannot remain indifferent to those actions, which alters the South Atlantic, “a zone of peace and cooperation”.  It is time for the United Kingdom to act in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations, he said, declaring:  “International law does not recognize the acquisition of territories by the force or usurpation.”

DIEGO PARY RODRÍGUEZ (Bolivia), speaking on behalf of CELAC, expressed full and unwavering support for the Government of Argentina in the matter of the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces.  Stressing the importance of resumption of negotiations between the two Governments concerned, he noted that at the 2014 CELAC Summit, the Heads of States and Governments issued a declaration stressing the need to consolidate a zone of peace in the Latin America and Caribbean, where differences between nations are resolved peacefully.

Citing relevant Assembly resolutions as well as CELAC declarations, he called on the Secretary-General to continue to make efforts in this matter and provide periodic updates.  Praising the ongoing constructive attitude of the Argentine Government and its willingness to find a peaceful solution to this anachronistic colonial problem, he also spoke in his national capacity to reaffirm his country’s support for that country.  This is not merely a bilateral issue but an internationally important matter, he said, calling for the use of all tools and means available in international law to ensure that no effort should be spared in finding a solution.

JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), aligning himself with CELAC and the Group of 77 and China, reaffirmed his country’s respect for the principles of peace and harmony.  Stressing the need to work within the framework of international law to resolve the Malvinas question, he said that is essential to make Latin America and the Caribbean a region free of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.  Emphasizing his country’s historical solidarity with the people of Argentina and their legitimate rights in the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces, he added that these are territories occupied by British colonizers. Noting that 10 June is a day of Central American solidarity with Argentina on this matter, he called for the implementation of all relevant Assembly resolutions.

JOAQUÍN ALBERTO PÉREZ AYESTARÁN (Venezuela), associating himself with CELAC and the Group of 77, stressed that the question of the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces is a “special and particular case” before the Special Committee, as a sovereignty dispute also exists.  Demanding an end to any unilateral measures in the area, he appealed to the United Kingdom to completely and immediately end its exploration and exploitation of natural resources and to cease without delay the conduct of military exercises, which undermines the region’s status as a zone of peace.  Many have urged the parties to resume bilateral negotiations, he said, noting that Argentina has always been ready and willing to do so.  The United Kingdom should heed that call, he stressed, also urging the Secretary-General to step up his good offices’ efforts in that regard.

YUMIRKA FERNÁNDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba), associating herself with CELAC and the Group of 77, said that in the issue of the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces, General Assembly resolutions make clear that the dispute is one over sovereignty which must be resolved by negotiations between the parties.  Noting that many regional groups have recognized Argentina’s sovereignty rights and called for the resumption of those talks as soon as possible, she emphasized that conducting military exercises in the South Atlantic runs counter to the region’s declaration of itself as a zone of peace.  Against that backdrop, she called for a negotiated, just and lasting solution — which takes into account the need to respect Argentina’s sovereignty and territorial integrity — and called for the resumption of bilateral talks to that end as soon as possible.

DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation) said his delegation has consistently called for the peaceful diplomatic resolution of the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces, in accordance with United Nations resolutions and the United Nations Charter.  Expressing concern over the militarization of the archipelago, he urged the parties to behave in line with the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco, as well as with its additional protocols.

ARRMANATHA CHRISTIAWAN NASIR (Indonesia), aligning with the statement to be made on behalf of the Group of 77, emphasized that the best way forward is peaceful dialogue and negotiations.  Encouraging the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations, he underlined the need to take into account the interests of the population of the Islands.  Also reiterating support for the good offices of the Secretary-General, he praised the continued communication between the Special Committee and the two Governments, calling this a building block for a lasting solution.

VICTORIA MANGAY SULIMANI (Sierra Leone) called on the Special Committee to continue dealing with the reality of colonialism “on a case-by-case basis, taking the wishes, aspirations and well-being of the inhabitants of the Territory as paramount.”   Reaffirming her country’s commitment to the eradication of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations, she emphasized the need to uphold the principle of self-determination of all peoples and nations.  Further, it is vital to ensure that the rights of the Islanders to freely determine their political status and pursue their development remain sacrosanct, she said, adding that any solution short of this will not be durable and sustainable.  Urging both parties to engage constructively and resume negotiations, she said it is necessary to enable the inhabitants of the Islands to freely determine their political status.

The Special Committee then approved draft resolution “L.8” without a vote.

The representative of Argentina thanked all those delegations that co-sponsored the text and the Special Committee for approving it.

MANUEL RUIZ DÍAZ (Paraguay), speaking on behalf of MERCOSUR, said the question of the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces is of particular importance to the regional bloc.  It involves a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, and constitutes a “special and particular” case.  MERSOCUR member States have repeatedly spoken out on that question, having signed the Malvinas Declaration reaffirming the sovereign rights of Argentina and repeatedly reaffirming it, including as recently as December 2021.  He cited a strong regional interest in seeing that protracted dispute resolved without delay, and in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions and declarations by the OAS, MERCOSUR and other multilateral and regional forums.  In addition, he rejected the adoption of all unilateral measures in the region — including the exploitation of renewable and non-renewable resources — and said Argentina has the right to take legal action in that regard.

Speaking in his national capacity, he associated himself with the statement delivered by CELAC and reaffirmed Paraguay’s long-held position in support of Argentina’s sovereignty rights over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces.  He called on the United Kingdom to resume negotiations without delay, with the ultimate goal of finding a peaceful resolution to that dispute.

GUILLERMO ROQUE FERNANDEZ DE SOTO VALDERRAMA (Colombia), reiterating the need to put an end to the special colonial situation concerning the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces, said that the sovereignty dispute must be solved through a peaceful, negotiated solution. Highlighting the significant trade ties between Argentina and the United Kingdom, he added that they share common values and work closely together bilaterally and in international forums.  Calling on both Governments to resume negotiations on this sovereignty dispute, he stressed the importance of complying with relevant Assembly resolutions that urge parties to reframe from introducing unilateral modifications to the Islands.

JOSÉ ALFONSO BLANCO CONDE (Dominican Republic), reiterating staunch support for Argentina’s just claim for exercising its sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces, said that direct negotiation is the right way to solve this dispute.  Also underscoring his country’s unwavering support for the good offices of the Secretary-General, he called on him to work to resume negotiations.  Citing the special communique on the Question of the Malvinas agreed upon at the Ibero-American Conference of Heads of State and Governments last year, he said it reaffirmed the need for both Governments to resume negotiations as soon as possible to find a timely solution. Also calling on the United Kingdom to refrain from unilateral actions concerning exploitation of renewable and non-renewable resources, he praised Argentina’s constructive attitude.

LUIS UGARELLI (Peru) reaffirmed Peru’s policy in support of all efforts to end colonial situations around the world.  Noting that the situation of the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces is a unique case involving a sovereignty dispute, he endorsed MERCOSUR’s 1996 Malvinas Declaration affirming Argentina’s legitimate rights over the Islands and the surrounding areas, and called on the parties to resume negotiations to resolve the dispute without delay.  The Secretary-General should bolster his good offices functions to support such bilateral negotiations, he added.

MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica), associating herself with CELAC and the Group of 77 and China, said the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces is a special and particular situation involving Argentina’s legitimate right to sovereignty.  Regretting that after many decades no progress has been achieved, she cited the growing military presence of the United Kingdom, which constitutes a “deliberate distancing” from relevant United Nations resolutions urging the parties to resume negotiations via diplomatic channels.  Asking the parties to fully respect resolutions urging States to reduce their military presence in the area, she said the only viable tools for the resolution of this or any other sovereignty dispute are negotiation and unfettered respect for international law.  She also joined other speakers in calling for the resumption of regular flights between Argentina and the Malvinas Islands, and welcomed progress made in countering COVID-19 and accelerating vaccinations on the Islands.

RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil), associating himself with MERCOSUR, reaffirmed his country’s support for Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces.  He echoed other speakers in describing the situation as a “special and particular case”, as the British settlers of the island were implanted externally.  As such, self-determination is not a relevant principle.  Noting efforts by the parties to improve their bilateral relations, he expressed hope that those efforts will contribute to the resumption of negotiations designed to restore the full exercise of Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands and the surrounding areas.  He urged the United Kingdom to end its exploration and exploitation of renewable and non-renewable resources, and to abstain from conducting military exercises in an area subject to a sovereignty dispute.

YOLANNIE CERRATO (Honduras), aligning herself with the statements of the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the Special Committee has played a crucial role in the consideration of this question since 1965.  “We continue championing the end of colonialism,” she said, noting that in September 2021, the ministers of CELAC adopted a special declaration reaffirming the need for the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations.  Calling on the United Nations to continue to work to exhaustively to conclude the decolonization process, she called on the Secretary-General to use his good offices and urged both parties from refraining from unilateral modifications.

TIYANI RAYMOND SITHOLE (South Africa), noting his country’s long-standing support for the resolution on this question, called for its full implementation.  Reaffirming support for a just and peaceful settlement to this issue, he reiterated the call for all parties involved to strengthen their resolve and resume bilateral negotiations towards finding a political solution.

SANDRA PEJIC-GLYMPH (Serbia), expressing support for the current resolution, stressed the importance of resolving all outstanding disputes peacefully and through dialogue.  Underscoring the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, she called on both sides to continue negotiations as the only acceptable way to achieve a peaceful, just and lasting solution.  Such negotiations must include mutual understanding, respect for international law and the Charter of the United Nations, she said.

MOHAMMAD AAMIR KHAN (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said in its most recent Ministers’ Declaration the Group’s members reaffirmed the need for the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations in line with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and the resolutions of the General Assembly, in order to find a peaceful resolution to the dispute over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas/spaces.  They also and underlined the principle of territorial integrity and the right of Argentina to take legal action against unauthorized hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in the area, as well as other unilateral actions taken in the area where the dispute exists, he said.

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[1] A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

For information media. Not an official record.