Happy New Year 2012

I haven’t had a moan on this site since November I see. Well, I’m beginning to get a little disillusioned. I have doubts.

I have doubts that Argentina is actually a serious contender.

Let’s take a look at events since my last post here. What has happened? Nothing really. Having failed, arguably not even tried, to get a ‘live’ United Nations General Assembly Resolution again in 2011, Argentina continues to shout about long dead Resolutions. 2065 for example, which dates back to 1965, and was probably Argentina’s only real diplomatic success at the UN. The problem though is that, for all the desperate attempts to resurrect it, Resolution 2065 is dead. Stabbed in the back by Argentina itself in 1982. A diplomatic suicide.

Then there are the annual General Assembly Resolutions that were thrown up between 1982 and 1988. All of them requesting that Britain and Argentina talk, and eventually that’s what they did. There was talk and, in 1989, a resumption of diplomatic contact, and, indeed, a number of agreements on fisheries, oil exploration, etc. All of which Argentina subsequently broke of course, but then that’s Argentina for you.

Importantly, the UN stopped making Resolutions asking Britain and Argentina to discuss their differences. I can only take the near deafening silence since 1988 as an indication that the UN was satisfied with the renewal of diplomatic relations and would now rather the whole subject went and annoyed someone else.

So that was the UN. Nothing getting passed the Fourth Committee on the issue of the Falklands, and in particular, nothing from the sub-sub-Commmittee generally known as the C24. It is suggested that the C is for ‘Committee’ but I have a rather different opinion. It’s not a high one, or worthy of repeating here. Britain long ago withdrew from dealing with the C24, although we did reserve a right to comment on matters involving the Falklands. Officially, I don’t think we ever have. Unofficially, the Englishman who sits at the back of the room has been known to have a quiet word after some particularly ludicrous decision. The quiet word seems to work.

Argentina doesn’t much go for quiet words, so November and December has been filled with increasingly loud rhetoric and claims of small victories. “China supports us”, was one; failing to mention that China always has, mostly because China wants Argentine support over Taiwan. “CELAC supports us”, was yet another, even though CELAC’s support was muted, and no-one actually knows what a CELAC is. I think that it is a type of vegetable, which is what it looks like, but I suspect we may never get to find out.

The latest storm in a tea-cup was Mercosur’s ban on Falkland flagged vessels from visiting their ports. Actually, this one dates from 2010, but as nobody seemed to have noticed, it was obviously worth repeating. Or at least it would have been, if the ban was actually very effective.

For political reasons little Uruguay took the most vocal stand for this ban, failing to  mention to its neighbours that the country would need some legislative change to make it work. Or that such change, was by no means certain. Uruguay’s official stance is that no new law is needed, but as there is at least one Falklands flagged vessel still sitting at Montevideo, this looks about as effective as the ban on British warships. One of which is also sitting in Montevideo harbour now, and has been since December 30th.

All of which only goes to show, that politics + bull and bluster = no contest.

I do hope that things liven up this year. In many ways they should, what with the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s last attempt at invasion, the 180th anniversary of their first, and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations which will include a Royal visit ( by a very minor Royal) to the Falkland Islands. Oh, and there’s Prince William’s deployment too. Well, if he turns up at your crisis, any self-respecting Argentine should refuse to have anything to do with him, and drown for their misplaced cause.

Maybe I won’t be disappointed in 2012, but I suspect that I will.

Argentina just hasn’t got it!

Happy New Year.

FCO Wimps!

It always seems to come down to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office !

The biggest bunch of double-dyed wimps to ever exist as a Government Department !

Yes, I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed by todays report in the Telegraph that Prince William’s proposed deployment to the Falkland Islands is in question because of representations made by Argentina.

That would be the Argentina that has been toadying in diplomatic circles all week seeking support for their spurious claims from Russia and China. The Argentina that whinges and whines when the sailors on HMS Clyde get some live firing training on the open seas. The Argentina that will be going to the United Nation’s Fourth Committee next month with their annual rant about how Britain should hand over these Islands, that Argentina has never owned.

And where is the British dithering coming from. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of course. Reputed to have favoured Argentina’s view since the 1930’s because they have more fun playing politics in South America than they do arguing over the Falkland Islands.

I had hoped that William Hague had put some backbone into these anonymous, lilly-livered civil service mandarins, but apparently not.

Prince William not only should be deployed to the Islands, he should be sent as the Crowns representative for the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War. A clear demonstration from the British Government that the Falkland Islands are British.

A clear two-finger message to Argentina !

Fighting Talk

There is little doubt that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the incumbent President of Argentina, will be re-elected in the October election. Her policies with regard to the Falkland Islands have followed on from her husband, Nestor, who preceded her as President. Politics in Latin America is often a family affair.

Nestor raised the temperature over the Falklands and now hardly a meeting, forum or Congress in the world of International politics is without an Argentine minister popping up and asking for support for their spurious claim to the islands.

I doubt that a South American knitting circle could publish a record of its meeting without the inclusion of something like, ” Mrs Garcia, in bringing this week’s meeting of the Sante Fe Knitters to a close, reiterated the support of this circle to the legitimate rights of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland of the North, concerning the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich and the surrounding maritime area, recalling the particular interest for both Governments to resume negotiations to find a solution to the dispute as soon as possible.”

I suspect the plan is to bore the world into applying pressure on the UK. Something along the lines of, ” For God’s/Buddha’s/Allah’s sake, talk to them, they’re driving us nuts !”.

So it’s nice to read in the recent Legislative Assembly meeting held a week or so ago in Stanley, comments such as –

” … A brief word about shipping and the new arrangements for shipping:  The nice thing about this is that it’s not only just been put in place but it is that we will always find solutions for these sorts of problems and it doesn’t matter how many different problems that the neighbours or others try to throw at us. We will always find a solution. There’s always another way of doing things and we will always find them. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept that a certain service is not there anymore – we can’t ship to Punta – we can’t ship to here or to there.  But there’s another way of doing it.  And I think if there is a message from this to the other side, it is just, “open your eyes.”  We are Islanders, we are resilient, we will always find another way. That’s how we’ve lived for the last two centuries and that’s how we will do for the next centuries and that’s how all Islanders cope with their lives.  So try as you might, we will survive. ”

” .. Before sitting down I would like to turn my attention towards the cursed neighbours.  I note in particular a statement that was made by their defence minister in which he said that his Government was minded to respect our ways of life, language, culture, etc.  We’ve heard all this before and from my experience of them nearly thirty years ago, they would not know the word “respect” if it came up and sat up on its hind legs wanting attention.  I had a dose of their respect and will not be having another experience of it.  Perhaps if instead of using macho bullying tactics they were to grow up or smell the coffee and start to behave like a first world country – which they say they are – and recognise us as a people with just as much right to our country and to determine our own future and way of life as they have then maybe – just maybe – given long enough we could start to have normal, friendly relations as we would hope to have with any other country.  But until they drop their totally unfounded and illegal claim, stop behaving in a threatening, macho manner and with blatant disregard for international treaties then they can sit over in their crumbling country and posture all they like. This Islander is not giving an inch. Full stop.”

The Islanders are British.

Anyone reading the words above should know it.

Falkland Islands

One of my particular bones of contention is the beligerent way in which Argentina treats the Falkland Islands based on no claim whatsoever other than geography ( the islands lie closer to Argentina than the UK), and their need to take control over the south Atlantic in an attempt to exert some influence over the future of the Antarctic. Geopolitics pure and simple.

Oh yes, Argentina will come up with a concocted history claiming that they had founded a settlement in the 1820’s and then been thrown off by British forces in 1833. This is a selective, indeed spurious, version of events as it fails to note that the British first gained sovereignty in 1765. Long before Argentina was even a twinkle in a revolutionary’s eye.

There was no indiginous population on the islands when the first British settlement was founded and the sovereighty claim that Britain gained then has never been renounced nor abandoned

However, what is most important here in the 21st century is the future of the islander’s themselves. As an ex-colony and a non-self governing territory they are entitled to both protection and rights under the multi-lateral Treaty known as the Charter of the United Nations.

The Falkland Islander’s are empowered by the Charter to decide their own future and the British Government is meeting its responsibilities under Article 73 with that end in mind.

Article 73 states:

” Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:

a) to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;

b) to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free
political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each
territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement;

c) to further international peace and security;

d) to promote constructive measures of development, to encourage research, and to co-operate with one another and, when and where appropriate, with specialized international bodies with a view to the practical achievement of the social, economic, and scientific purposes set forth in this Article; and

e) to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General for information purposes, subject to such limitation as security and constitutional considerations may require, statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to economic, social, and educational conditions in the territories for which they are respectively responsible ….. “

The islanders have their own government in the form of a Legislative Assembly with eight elected members representing a population of around 3,000 islanders and they are increasingly taking responsibility for their own development.

For example the recent oil exploration licences were issued by the Falkland Islands Government, not the UK. These, together with fishing licences, sheep farming, tourism and the production of stamps, have reduced the islander’s dependancy on the UK to the point that the only costs the British pick up are those for defence.

However, there is another Article in the UN Charter regarding non-self governing territories.

Article 74 states:

” Members of the United Nations also agree that their policy in respect of the
territories to which this Chapter applies, no less than in respect of their
metropolitan areas, must be based on the general principle of good-neighbourliness, due account being taken of the interests and well-being of the rest of the world, in social, economic, and commercial matters. “

This Article applies to all of the Members of the United Nations and lays a duty upon them. Argentina is in breach of that duty. Argentina is not a ‘good neighbour’.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter11.shtml

http://www.falklandshistory.org/gettingitright.pdf

http://en.mercopress.com/falkland-islands