Falklands wait for Argentine `invasion'
Sunday 08 August 1999
The deal between London and Buenos Aires gave Argen-tina a tenuous foothold on the islands, which it claims as its territory, and in exchange it recognised the local government and said it would help with fisheries conservation. But the agreement has left the islanders bitterly divided.
Since the deal, signed last month in London, Argentines have been free to visit the islands, though there have been earlier visits by next-of- kin to grave sites. The Chilean airline Lan Chile has lifted a ban on flights imposed because of the Pinochet affair, and later this year will make a stop in Argentina before flying to the islands.
Amongst those who have said they want to visit are footballer Diego Maradona, who has said he wants to prompt the islanders to change their minds on sovereignty. "We agreed that the visit by Mr Maradona was not likely to have a positive influence and his most recent comments to the media appear to support that judgement," said the Falklands Governor, Donald Lamont. "But he can come here as any ordinary Argentine visitor can come now, neither expecting nor receiving any special treatment."
The deal sparked protests and flag-burning in the Falklands, where opinion is sharply divided on Argentine visits and direct flights. But the islands' councillors, who participated in the negotiations, have defended the deal.
"There is a major difference between the Seventies and now," Councillor Mike Summers told a recent meeting, according to the Falkland Islands News Network. "One of these has to do with the fact that there is no longer a military dictatorship in Argentina. They have a form of democracy in its infancy. The second has to do with the British government which, for the first time ever, is about to enshrine the right to self determination for every overseas territory."
But the negotiations were held up because of Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's preoccupation with Kosovo, and then foreshortened by his desire for a quick result, according to councillors. "It took a considerable time to engage the interest of the Foreign Secretary," said Lewis Clifton, a councillor.
Presidential elections on 24 October meant that the political window in Argentina was limited. President Carlos Saul Menem, who cannot stand again, had said he wanted the Argentine flag to fly on the islands by the end of his term in office. He had also said that he wants to be on the first direct flight between Argentina and the islands on 16 October, but the British government has told him this is inadvisable because of strong feeling on the islands.
"The Government has the right to refuse undesirable persons," said Mr Summers. "And I would suggest that President Menem would come in that category."
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Ed Miliband's 'north London set' must be demolished to save Labour, say critics
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...