The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24) adopted by consensus a new resolution that reiterates, like every year since 1983, the call for the United Kingdom and Argentina to resume negotiations to find, as soon as possible, a peaceful and definitive solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, and it reiterated its firm support for the good offices mission carried out by the Secretary-General, António Guterres.
“The Argentine Government permanently reaffirms the same willingness to continue sovereignty negotiations with the United Kingdom. However, for almost four decades, the United Kingdom has refused to resume negotiations with Argentina to find a peaceful solution to the bilateral sovereignty dispute as provided by the General Assembly,” stated Foreign Minister Felipe Solá during his detailed address at the Committee’s plenary session and during his first visit to the United Nations.
Accompanied by the Chief of Staff to the Minister, Guillermo Justo Chaves, the Secretary for the Malvinas Islands, Antarctica and the South Atlantic, Daniel Filmus, and the ambassador to the United Nations, María del Carmen Squeff, Solá highlighted that “the United Kingdom asserts that there will be no sovereignty negotiations unless the islanders agree to that. Therefore, it pretends to disregard the General Assembly’s resolutions using the right to self-determination of the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands as a pretext. This reasoning is groundless in international law and is just an excuse to preserve its colonialist presence in the South Atlantic.”
Solá stated that “neither Resolution 2065 nor any of the subsequent resolutions mention the right of peoples to self-determination. Our country has consistently shown its respect for the interests of the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands. The respect for their way of life is recognized in our Constitution. With that spirit in mind, the Argentine Government has arranged and permitted flights from the Islands to other countries in the continent and has offered to reestablish a weekly flight from mainland Argentina to the Malvinas Islands and is still awaiting an answer from the United Kingdom.”
After the intervention of the Argentine petitioners, Paula Vernet and Guillermo Clifton, descendants of the first Argentines that lived on the islands, the Foreign Minister explained that “in March 2020, when the world was shaken by the worst pandemic in the last 100 years, Argentina conveyed to the UK Government its willingness to cooperate with the islanders in connection with the situation caused by the pandemic by offering them food, medical supplies or Covid-19 diagnostic tests, as well as humanitarian flights and access to medical treatment in the continent. The Argentine Government’s offers have never been answered.”
Solá vigorously stated that “the United Kingdom persists with its activities that contravene Resolution 31/49 of the General Assembly, which calls on the parties to refrain from carrying out unilateral actions within the disputed zone, until a definitive solution to the dispute is found. This year, the United Kingdom decided to extend the unilateral fishing licenses on the Malvinas Islands’ surrounding waters for another 25 years as from 2031, which makes it impossible to have a cooperation plan in the field of fishing resources conservation. The Argentine Government will continue rejecting the UK’s illegal exploitation of natural resources that belong to the Argentine people.”
“The United Kingdom also contravenes Resolution 31/49 as it maintains an unjustified and disproportionate military presence on the Islands, regularly performing maneuvers and exercises which Argentina has strongly protested. The deployment of the British military forces on the Islands is completely unjustified as all Argentine democratic Governments have reaffirmed their decision to solve the dispute exclusively through peaceful means,” he added, and he further conveyed the unanimous support of all the political forces of our country for the peaceful recovery of the full exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.
In historical terms, he highlighted that “there is abundant and conclusive evidence that Argentina was exercising sovereignty over the Islands at the time of the British usurpation and such evidence dates back to the early days of its life as an independent nation. The British usurpation by force of a part of the Argentine territory and the expulsion of the Argentine people and authorities legally established on the islands were never agreed to by our country. From the very moment when that usurpation took place, Argentina has permanently and continuously protested both bilaterally against the United Kingdom and in all the relevant international fora.”
In closing, the Argentine Foreign Minister especially thanked the Latin American countries that co-sponsored the resolution: Chile, which also presented it, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela; all the countries that spoke during the current session and those that in multiple regional and multilateral fora join the appeal by the international community to solve this dispute, 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).
The Special Committee on Decolonization, created in 1961 as a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly, is in charge of ensuring the enforcement of Resolution 1514 (XV) of the UN General Assembly and, within that context, it examines every year the colonies where decolonization is still pending, adopting resolutions to advance towards the end of colonialism.