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."
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
AirAsia QZ8501: Black box reveals warning alarms 'screamed' before crash, as more bodies recovered from near fuselage of jet
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...