Presidential candidate Alberto Fernández is considering reviewing Argentina’s existing bilateral agreements with the United Kingdom, according to reports in local outlets.
The Frente de Todos frontrunner broke his silence over the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands in last Sunday’s presidential debate in Santa Fe, when he vowed to tackle what he sees as perceived lack of progress over the sovereignty dispute under the Mauricio Macri administration. He would seek changes “in memory of the soldiers,” he told viewers.
This pledge could apparently extend to reviewing all bilateral agreements between Argentina and Britain, according to reports, should the opinion polls prove correct and he emerge triumphant on October 27.
“During these years the government was very busy trading with Britain and forgot about our sovereignty over the Malvinas. But we will insist again. In memory of those soldiers, I’ll make sure things are different,” exclaimed Fernández in the first part of the debate dedicated to international relations, identifying the issue as a foreign policy priority should he reach government.
The former cabinet chief alleged the Macri administration had “forgot” about Argentina’s fallen soldiers.
"International relations are not about taking photographs with leaders," criticised Fernández.
The Peronist hopeful is reportedly evaluating a review of the 1989 Madrid agreement, signed by then-president Carlos Menem, that restored relations between the two countries on the basis of placing the sovereignty debate under an “umbrella” and advancing on other bilateral fronts.
According to Infobae, the Frente de Todos camp justifies this aim on the basis of a lack of advances on the sovereignty issue in the 30 years since the Madrid agreement. “The Malvinas issue will be a priority,” the report said, citing an official close to his team.
Several ex-officials, including the likely future foreign minister – which observers believe will be either Jorge Argüello, Daniel Filmus, Jorge Taiana or Felipe Solá – are working on this agenda, Infobae said.
Argüello, a former lawmaker and ambassador, said in a recent column on the subject in Perfil that it is time to "discuss and agree on new policies."
This review of the Anglo-Argentine agreements in recent years will also include the 2016 Duncan-Foradori communiqué, which Mauricio Macri and Theresa May expanded during the G20 Leaders Summit in Buenos Aires. That deal paved the way for an advancement in trade with Britain as well as cooperation in other areas, such as security, science and technology.
Also under review would be agreements covering mainland flights and the identification of soldiers buried in unmarked graves on the islands, a possibility which reportedly has sparked concerns in the UK’s Foreign Office thanks to memories of tense bilateral relations during Kirchnerite years, especially with former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is Fernández’s running-mate.
The possibility has reportedly reached the attention of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet as it evaluates British representation at the inauguration of the next president on December 10.
Multiple stories reporting on Fernández’s supposed stance toward Britain and the Malvinas Islands have emerged over the last 48 hours.