Letter: Argentina's case

Sir: I welcome the reference to the United Nations, made by J Cheek, R Cockwell and S Halford in their letter of 16 March ("Falklands freedom"), since the world organisation has a significant part to play in the South Atlantic problem.

At the same time, I find the reference selective and incomplete for, while recognising the principle of self-determination, the UN has equally stated the primacy of territorial integrity in certain colonial situations. Such pre-eminence also found an echo in the International Court of Justice. Accordingly, the UN has explicitly rejected the application of the principle of self-determination to the "Falklands/Malvinas Question". It could not be otherwise, given that the islands were initially part of Argentina and ever since their colonial occupation Argentines and other South Americans have been banned from settling there. Self-determination would not do justice to pre-existent Argentine rights and would legitimise the forcible and continued exclusion of the original population.

The inescapable historic and legal fundamentals of this issue and its geographic reality, make a constructive and forward-looking dialogue all the more advisable. On its part, following relevant UN resolutions and like a friendly democracy, Argentina is firmly committed to searching for a negotiated solution with Britain. Furthermore, as stated in the Argentine Constitution, it remains bound to pursue its claim with due respect for the way of life of the present inhabitants.



Embassy of the Argentine Republic

London W1