Britain steps up its claim to the Falkland Islands

 

New York

Britain has told Argentina to go back to its own history books to understand why it can have no claim over the Falkland Islands and why there will be no negotiations on sovereignty as it is demanding.

The details of the Britain's territorial embrace of the islands going back to 1765 and the ejection of an Argentine garrison in January 1833 are laid out in a letter delivered by the British ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and seen exclusively by The Independent.

The five-page rebuttal to a protest letter distributed by the Argentine government to all the members of the UN General Assembly early last month is more comprehensive than any in the past, diplomatic sources said. The exchange came as tensions between the two countries were escalating even before the arrival on the islands on Thursday of Prince William on a six-week deployment for the Royal Air Force.

The impending 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, as well as the decision in London to deploy the HMS Dauntless, has also been a factor in the deepening diplomatic crisis. Late Thursday a Union Jack was burned outside the British Embassy by demonstrators and the Vice President, Amado Boudou, publicly suggested Britain was stoking the stand-off to distract its own population from domestic problems.

The British letter, dated 27 January, chastises Argentina for a series of recent Falklands-related measures, including cajoling neighbouring countries into turning away any ships flying the Falklands flag. "These disturbing developments call into question the commitment of the Republic of Argentina to peaceful cooperation in the South Atlantic," it says.

It opens however with a history lesson not likely to be well-received in Buenos Aires. It notably highlights an alleged flaw in Argentina's position that the islands are part of the territory of the Tierra del Fuego province. It was half a century after the 1833 incidents that Tierra del Fuego even became part of Argentina, the letter, asserts. British sovereignty on the islands goes back, by contrast, to 1765.

"In 1833 the territorial borders of the Republic of Argentina did not include the geographical southern half of its present form," Sir Mark wrote. These facts demonstrate "that the Republic of Argentina's claim to the Islands which it bases on the principle of disruption to its territorial integrity is without foundation".

The request repeatedly made by Buenos Aires for negotiations on the future of the islands is rejected by Sir Mark on the grounds that those living on the island are entitled to self-determination, which is enshrined in the UN Charter itself, and do not seek any change.

"There can and will be no negotiation on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the Falkland Islanders so wish," Sir Mark insists. "The United Kingdom and the Republic of Argentina cannot negotiate away the right to self-determination. It is a principle that we are both legally bound to respect."

The British Defence Secretary, Mr Philip Hammond, yesterday played down Prince William's deployment. "He's there as a search and rescue pilot, that's a humanitarian function and it's a routine deployment."

In his letter, Sir Mark meanwhile turned back Argentine complaints about short-range missile exercises. "The United Kingdom undertakes routine military exercises... it has done so since they were deployed there in response to the Republic of Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee