Friday, July 12, 2024

ARGENTINA | 18-06-2024 16:56

Mondino reaffirms Malvinas claim at UN, calls for ‘mature’ relationship with UK

Foreign Minister Diana Mondino speaks before UN decolonisation committee, which issues fresh call for talks between Buenos Aires and London; President Javier Milei takes to social media to reiterate his support for nation’s top diplomat as rumours over her potential exit continue.

The United Nations’ Special Committee on Decolonisation on Tuesday adopted a new resolution urging the United Kingdom and Argentina to resume bilateral talks over the sovereignty of the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands.

"The United Nations, with broad international support, reiterated its call on the United Kingdom and Argentina to resume sovereignty negotiations," Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement welcoming the move.

Beyond the resolution calling for a “peaceful and definitive” solution to the dispute, several nations including Brazil and Paraguay spoke out in favour of Argentina's sovereign claim over the archipelago, the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

In her own speech to the UN committee, Argentina’s Foreign Minister Diana Mondino reaffirmed Argentina's sovereignty claim over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.

She called on the UK to heed the international body’s resolution and called for a “mature” relationship between the nations.

Mondino also expressed the hopes of President Javier Milei that Argentina enter a new phase in its relationship with the UK.

Mondino recalled that almost 60 years have passed since Argentina’s then-UN ambassador José María Ruda delivered a historic speech outlining the historical and legal case for Argentina’s claim. 

"The General Assembly and this Special Committee established the way to decolonise the Malvinas Islands: it is a bilateral negotiation to reach a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute, taking into account the provisions and objectives of the United Nations Charter, Resolution 1514, as well as the interests of the inhabitants of the Islands," Mondino said.

“This conviction," the nation’s top diplomat said, "is shared by the entire Argentine people, and is enshrined in our National Constitution: the recovery of the full exercise of our sovereignty over the Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, in accordance with international law.”

"It is an issue that transcends political-partisan differences, and constitutes a state policy,” she declared.

Mondino continued: "In a dynamic global scenario, Argentina intends to develop its capabilities in the medium and long term, and to generate a mature relationship with the UK.”

President Milei’s government is “convinced that through this dialogue it will be possible to achieve a higher level of cooperation, and hopes that this will generate the climate of trust necessary to resume negotiations to resolve the sovereignty dispute,” concluded the minister.
The Malvinas, located 400 kilometres off the coast of Argentina and almost 13,000 kilometres from the UK, was the scene of a 74-day war between the two nations in 1982, which ended with Argentina’s surrender. 

More than 900 people were killed in the conflict: 649 Argentines and 255 Britons.

Argentina claims that the islands were inherited from the Spanish crown when it gained independence. 

Britain insists it has historically ruled the islands and notes that islanders voted 99.8 percent in favour of remaining British in a 2013 referendum. It rejects Argentina’s claim and has refused to negotiate on the issue.

Milei has previously said that the rights of the existing islanders must be respected and suggested that a “Hong Kong” style agreement should be negotiated to return the territory “like England did with China.”

But at a ceremony marking the 42nd anniversary of the war earlier this year, Milei said he would deliver a “road map” for his plan to return the islands to Argentine hands.

Ties between London and Buenos Aires have been strained in the decades since the war, with the sovereignty issue tending to outweigh other avenues for diplomatic cooperation.

Back in February, Mondino reiterated Argentina’s sovereignty claim to British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in-person at a G20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

Mondino arrived in New York from Switzerland after attending the Global Summit for Peace convened by Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The foreign minister met with representatives from the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and a group of some 30 executives from major companies that have operations in Argentina or are exploring investment opportunities in the country.

President Milei offered Mondino a public vote of confidence this week, retweeting a message from an account on social media that described the official as “the best foreign minister in Argentina’s history.”

The duo were together at the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland last weekend but her exclusion from the travelling delegation for the G7 Leaders Summit in Italy had reignited rumours of her potential exit from government. 



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