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Declaration by National Council on Malvinas Islands Affairs

Friday, 20 August 2021
Information for the Press N°: 

We, the members of the National Council, reaffirm our commitment to contribute to the enhancement of State Policies in furtherance of the First Temporary Provision of the Argentine Constitution: "The Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and imprescriptible sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime and insular areas, as they are an integral part of the national territory. The recovery of those territories and the full exercise of sovereignty over them, while respecting the lifestyle of their inhabitants and in compliance with the principles of International Law, are a permanent and non-renounceable goal of the Argentine people."

Firstly, it is important to summarize the strong, historical, legal and political grounds that support Argentina’s position: when Argentina’s independence process began, the Kingdom of Spain exercised full sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands and appointed 32 governors until 1810. Although Great Britain and France were interested in the Islands at the time, as they were intent on having a strategically located settlement in front of the Strait of Magellan, Spain protested each one of those attempts and, as a result, both countries stopped them.

Argentina inherited Spain’s titles by succession of States under the uti possidetis juris principle of 1810. Since then, our country, as the legitimate heir to the continental, insular and maritime territories that had belonged to Spain, exercised its sovereignty over these archipelagos and the maritime areas through various acts of government.

These acts, which began just after the first governing body (Primera Junta de Gobierno) was established in May 1810, included the official taking of public and uncontested possession of the Malvinas Islands on behalf of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata and various jurisdiction acts, including territorial concessions, the designation of authorities, the passing of regulations and the establishment of legal and administrative facilities, such as the creation of the Political and Military Commandancy in 1829, headed by a resident governor appointed by the Government of Buenos Aires.

On 3 January 1833, such effective exercise of sovereignty was interrupted when the United Kingdom occupied the Islands, expelling Argentina and disrupting our country’s territorial integrity. The Argentine Republic immediately protested against such illegal act and never, under any political administration, consented to it. The Argentine protest was not made by a single political sector. Roca, Alvear, Palacios, Perón, Illia, Alfonsín, and Kirchner are among some of the political leaders that, from different parties, firmly pursued this claim.

Since then, the Islands and the surrounding maritime areas have been subject to a sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom, as recognized by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 2065 (XX), adopted in 1965, with no negative votes, during Arturo Illia’s presidency. The articulate defence of Argentina’s arguments was presented by Argentine Ambassador José María Ruda, reflecting Argentina’s permanent diplomatic work on this issue.

In such resolution, the General Assembly established that, in order to put an end to the dispute, both countries must find a solution to it, bearing in mind the interests of the inhabitants of the Islands, inviting both governments to negotiate to that end. That was the starting point of a process of bilateral negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom, in which both governments considered various possible solutions to the dispute, but such solutions could not be achieved due to Britain’s reluctance.

In parallel to the negotiations regarding the substannce of the dispute, practical aspects were also agreed on in order to improve the islanders’ quality of life, demonstrating Argentina’s historical willingness to take their interests into account and respect their way of life.

The 1982 war and its outcome did not alter the nature of the controversy between Argentina and the UK, nor did it put an end to the sovereignty dispute, which remained unsolved, as recognized by the General Assembly in November 1982 when it adopted the Resolution 37/9, a few months after the conflict ended.

In addition, it should be recalled that the principle of self-determination -one of the pillars of international law that has enabled numerous subjugated nations to become independent and which our country has firmly defended when applicable - does not apply to the current Malvinas Islands inhabitants. There is no colonized people on the Islands, subjugated or dominated. Therefore, neither the United Nations General Assembly nor its Committee on Decolonization have ever applied the principle of self-determination to the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands.

As a matter of fact, the reasons why the United Kingdom occupied the Malvinas Islands in 1833 and maintains its colonial dominion are not related to those that live on the Islands today. Their presence is attributable to other causes, including expanding to Antarctica, controlling the passage between the two oceans and the abundance of renewable and nonrenewable resources in the disputed area. This also explains the British military base on the islands.

The Malvinas Question is not only a national cause, but also a global one: the international community, through its multiple regional and multilateral fora, such as OAS, G77 and China, Mercosur, the Ibero-American Summit, ECLAC, SICA, OLADE, PARLASUR, PARLACEN, the Africa-South America Summit (ASA) and the Summit of South American-Arab Countries (ASPA), joins the UN call for the parties to resume negotiations and find a solution to the controversy.

In addition, the United Nations also condemns the unilateral actions carried out by the United Kingdom. In particular, the exploration and exploitation of renewable and nonrenewable resources in the Malvinas, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas are inconsistent with the UN General Assembly Resolution 31/49.

The members of this Council believe in the importance of a plural, open, federal and intergenerational dialogue that addresses the Malvinas Questions as a true State policy and that commits to legal, historical and political arguments that support Argentina’s position as well as to the permanent recognition of our people for those that bravely fought to defend our sovereignty.

In compliance with the constitutional mandate that provides for the non-renounceable goal of recovering the peaceful and full exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime and insular areas, we reaffirm our commitment to continue working on the consolidation of such policies that express our country’s firm and unwavering willingness to negotiate, until we find a peaceful and lasting solution to the sovereignty dispute as provided for in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2065 (XX).

Islas Malvinas