Delegations from Argentina and the Falklands Islands have met at the United Nations to discuss the sovereignty of the South Atlantic Islands in front of the UN’s decolonisation committee.
Hector Timerman, Argentina's foreign minister, is due to address the C24 committee later on Thursday to restate his country's determination to bring Britain to the negotiating table over the disputed islands.
Hector Timerman will blame the UK for the lack of progress on negotiations
In 2012, President Kirchner attended the same New York meeting, delivering a bellicose rebuttal of the islanders’ claims to sovereignty, while this year's meeting comes 31 years after a British expeditionary force reclaimed the islands following an Argentine invasion.
However, the Falkland Islanders are expected to launch a staunch defence of their right to self-determine, following the March referendum in which more than 99% of voters (there was a 92% turnout) said they favoured remaining British.
Speaking to La Nacion, Mike Summers, an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly and a leading member of the Falklands delegation, said: “I have no doubts that the issue of the referendum and the results will be mentioned at the UN C24 by all sides.”
In recent weeks, Timerman has campaigned to gain support for Argentina’s position from the other members of the C24 Committee, including Russia and India. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently visited Buenos Aires and Timerman travelled to India only last week. The Argentine foreign minister is expected to blame the so-called impasse on the islands' sovereignty on "the UK's systematic refusal to resume negotiations".
The Argentinian Embassy in London released a statement on Thursday restating the country's desire to find "a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom, as requested by 40 United Nations resolutions".
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Our view is that the Decolonisation Committee no longer has a relevant role to play with respect to British Overseas Territories. To describe our relationship with them as colonial is insulting to both them and us. We are committed to a modern relationship based on partnership and shared values.
"The people of each Territory have the right to choose whether or not to remain a British Overseas Territory. Any decision to sever the constitutional link between the UK and a Territory should be on the basis of the clear and constitutionally expressed wish of the people themselves. We believe that the UN Decolonisation Committee should delist Territories where this is their wish.
"In the case of the Falkland Islands, the people there are British and wish to remain so - as clearly demonstrated by the 99.8% Yes vote in the March referendum. The UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and surrounding maritime areas, nor about the Falkland Islanders' right to decide their own future: the right of self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. There can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until the Islanders so wish."
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