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ARGENTINA | 20-07-2023 18:40

European Union uses term Malvinas, angering London

UK officials questioned the European bloc after the joint statement of the EU-CELAC Summit included the “Malvinas Question."

Including a motion on the Malvinas Question at the Summit between the leaders of the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) once again put the dispute with the United Kingdom on the sovereignty over the archipelago back on the agenda and escalated a multilateral diplomatic conflict laden with official reactions on both sides of the Atlantic.

In its quest to approach the region, the EU, headed by Ursula Von der Leyen “took note” of the CELAC’s historic position on the sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, usurped by the United Kingdom in 1833 and claimed by Argentina uninterruptedly. The result was not only mentioning the topic for the first time in a joint bi-regional statement (the EU having been historically aligned with the British stance), but in its version in English it calls them “Malvinas / Falklands”.

In the meantime, newspapers around the world echoed the news and it did not take a long time for a complaint from the British government headed by Rishi Sunak to come, as he questioned the EU and claimed that the Malvinas Islands “are British”. The statement from the Prime Minister came in addition to those already made by other officials in his cabinet in the same vein, some of which were questioned by Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero, who also took the chance to fire against a publication for the way the news hailing it as a “triumph of Argentine diplomacy” was handled.

 

The British government’s reaction

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak criticised the European bloc for its involvement in the Brussels Summit, in whose joint statement they called the archipelago “Malvinas Islands” in addition to “Falkland Islands”, the British name.

The British Foreign Minister, James Cleverly, demanded the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to clarify the bloc’s position on the sovereignty of the islands. Nevertheless, the request was refused.

“We will continue to defend the self-determination right of the Malvinas in all international fora and we have asked the EU to respect the democratic rights of the Malvinas Islands”, the British Government added.

Finally, former Defence Alec Shelbrooke suggested that the bloc was being “petty” and only “trying to upset the UK because we left them”, in reference to the process of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, known as Brexit.

 

Cafiero and criticism for Clarín

This week, Cafiero called the motion on Malvinas a “triumph of Argentine diplomacy”. “This joint statement is a new call by the international community for the United Kingdom to abide by its obligation to resume negotiations on Argentina’s sovereignty”, Santiago Cafiero specified.

What is more, on Thursday he fired against Clarín, which he accused of having “lied to” in terms of the joint statement of the CELAC-EU Summit which first mentioned the Malvinas Question. “While the world press reflects the facts, Clarín chooses to lie. They did the same thing when we reneged on the shameful Foradori-Duncan ‘pact’”, the official claimed on Twitter and highlighted: “The triumph of Argentine diplomacy was conclusive: for the first time a bi-regional declaration added the Malvinas Question."

 

Alberto Fernández’s tweet

President Alberto Fernández called the acknowledgement by the European Union (EU) of the Malvinas Question a “historic diplomatic victory”, and quoted Santiago Cafiero given some controversy around the media coverage of the event.

“Malvinas is a national cause. We have taken one step further, a diplomatic victory: an entire people has taken Malvinas to a bi-regional declaration. The commitment by the Argentine people to the defence of the rights of our homeland has made it possible”, the chief executive stated via Twitter.

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