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.

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Argentina’s Resolution Tango

I haven’t had a whine for ages. After Argentina’s performance before the 4th Committee it didn’t seem very worthwhile. After all, they desperately need a new UN General Assembly Resolution, but just don’t push for it. Which seems a little strange.

What they do, is tell the world that Britain is refusing to comply with a dozen UN Resolutions dealing with the Falklands, and generally telling the UK that it has to negotiate.

This is, of course, a complete lie.

General Assembly Resolutions is must first be recognised, are not mandatory. They are there to advise the subjects of the Members wishes and views. General Assembly Resolutions carry no weight in international law. Now Security Council Resolutions are obligatory, in that a refusal to comply is an offence in international law. Or it should be. Recent experience with SC Resolutions concerning Iraq and North Korea suggest otherwise. As did Argentina’s refusal to comply with SC Resolution 502 in April, 1982.

So perhaps no UN Resolution is really mandatory or effective.

Which raises questions about their longevity. One of Argentina’s current claims is that Britain should follow UN GA Resolution 2065 which recognises a dispute over sovereignty between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland Islands and calls for talks.

Resolution 2065 dates back to 1965 and, as a direct consequence of it, both sides sat down in an attempt to resolve their differences. Needless to say, talks were protracted and didn’t go in the direction that Argentina wished. So Argentina invaded the Islands.

The rest is history, as they say, and so is Resolution 2065. Something of a cheek then, for Argentina’s wily diplomats to accuse Britain of refusing to comply with it, 29 years after they killed it stone dead. The same can be said of Resolution 31/49 (1976), and for the same reason.

Then there were the UN GA Resolutions produced between 1982 and 1988.

37/9 (1982) calls for negotiations over sovereignty, as does 38/12 (1983) and 39/06 (1984). Resolution 40/21 (1985) superseded these by calling for negotiations to solve the problems existing between the two countries, including the Falklands, which seemed now to take a secondary position. No mention of sovereignty in that one. Nor was there any mention of a sovereignty dispute in 41/40 (1986) or 42/19 (1987).

Each of course, taking over from the one before. Inaction having rendered it/them irrelevant, out-of-date, redundant.

The last UN GA Resolution was 43/25 (1988) which called, as had the two before it, on both sides; ” to initiate negotiations with a view to finding the means to resolve peacefully and definitively the problems pending between both countries, including all aspects on the future of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;”

And they did. Both sides sat down, talked for the first time in years and reached some agreements.

The United Nations was so happy that there hasn’t been another GA Resolution since.

So Argentina tells the world lies. Britain is not in breach of any UN GA Resolution concerning the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

There is another type of UN Resolution however; one which goes to the core of the UN itself; one that emanates from the Charter; one that cannot die.

One example is 1514 (1960) which talks about all peoples having a right to determine their own future; another example is 1515 (1960) which states that such peoples have the right to exploit their own resources, as does 1803 (1962).

Argentina shot itself in the foot when it invaded. That act not only killed a lot of good men, it killed off a few Resolutions too. The last effective Resolution on the subject was 1988. Britain complied.

Argentina lies !

Here We Go Again !

Here we go again!

The annual farce that is the Fourth Committee’s consideration of the Report by the Special Committee on Decolonisation is up and running. The opening session yesterday included the same old players, and the same old tired arguments.

” Octavio Errazuriz (Chile), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group reiterated the Group’s strong support for the rights of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom over the Malvinas islands, as well as the region’s support for the resumption of negotiations between the two to find a peaceful and definitive solution to that dispute as soon as possible, as  well as to the questions of sovereignty over South Georgia and South Sandwich islands and surrounding maritime areas in accordance with the relevant resolutions and declarations of the United Nations and the Organization of
American States, mindful of the principle of territorial integrity.  In regard to actions of the United Kingdom in exploring and exploiting hydrocarbons in areas of the Argentine continental shelf, he underlined General Assembly resolution 31/49, which called on the parties to avoid unilateral modifications in the situation.  The Group rejected military activities of that country in the Malvinas.”

“Lillian Silveira (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market  (MERCOSUR), reaffirmed the support of that group to the statements made by the
President of Argentina in 1996 and by the President of Paraguay in 1999 concerning the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime areas.  She reaffirmed MERCOSUR’s support for the legitimate rights of Argentina, and said that the adoption of unilateral measures by the United Kingdom in the territory was not compatible with the United Nations stipulations. She said the United Kingdom was conducting illegal hydrocarbon mining activities on the Argentine continental shelf, and all measures must be adopted to prevent those ships from “flying the illegal flag of the Malvinas islands”.  She urged the Secretary-General to renew
his efforts through successive resolutions to re-launch negotiations to find a
peaceful solution to the dispute. She rejected a recent statement made by the British Minister of Defence, and said the United Kingdom continued to ignore the calls of the international community to sit down with Argentina to solve the dispute.  She affirmed that those statements by the United Kingdom showed, once again, an attitude in contrast with the decisions of the region, which leant support to Argentina’s claims regarding its legitimate sovereignty rights.  In 1833, the United Kingdom had expelled the Argentine population and had prevented Argentineans from returning to the islands to this day.  The United Kingdom had brought in British subjects who did not respond to
the criterion of subjected peoples, according to resolution 1514, giving rise to a colonial territory with no colonial population.”

And of course, Argentina.

” Diego Limeres said that further delay of the application of the Declaration was a continuing source of a lack of harmony, and created a dangerous situation in various parts of the world that could be a threat to international peace and security.  The
fiftieth anniversary of resolution 1514, as well as the launch of the Third International Decade, should encourage a redoubling of efforts to promote decolonization. He stressed that the Declaration had made it clear that there was more than one form of colonialism.  The two established cases included the need for self-determination on the one hand, and territorial integrity on the other.  Argentina continued to staunchly defend the rights of people to self-determination, where that right was applicable.  The  sovereignty dispute in the Malvinas islands was an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.  That sovereignty dispute, existing over the Malvinas islands and surrounding areas, was of utmost relevance to Argentina. “This is a
peculiar and particular colonial situation”, he said, since there was not a population subjected or subjugated in the South Atlantic islands usurped from Argentina, but rather British subjects whose situation had not changed since the United Kingdom had put them there.  Thus, there existed a colonial situation, but not a colonized people.  The British transplanted populations could not rightly claim the right to self-determination in the Malvinas islands, as that amounted to the United Kingdom “claiming self-determination for itself”.   Meanwhile, the United Kingdom carried out the exploitation of resources in the area, in contravention of agreements which expressly forbid unilateral
modifications to the Territory while the issue remained unsettled.  Furthermore, that Power had conducted military exercises from the Territory of the Malvinas islands, which ran contrary to full implementation of the maritime safety standard of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). All of those actions violated international law and the mandate of the international community.  Argentina was confronted by British activities, which did not just affect that region, but beyond, and the international community must put an end to the preying on natural resources by colonial powers.  He expressed Argentina’s permanent  willingness to resume sovereignty negotiations, and said the United Kingdom must comply in order to resolve the dispute.  The international community’s duty was to put an end to those “crimes”, and Argentina would extend its best efforts towards eradicating them for good.”

Same old rubbish so far then.

The British response was also the same as previous years.

” Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the UK said her country had no doubt regarding the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.  There could be no negotiations on that sovereignty if the population of the Islands did not so wish.  The democratically elected representatives of that population had made clear to the Special Committee their wishes and their claim to the right to self-determination. They confirmed that they were the only residents of the islands, which had never had an indigenous population, and affirmed their rights to exploit the resources of their islands
for their own benefit.  Routine military exercises were held as part of efforts to ensure the security of the population of the island “

Argentina then added to the myths that it spins with a reply to the UK’s Right to Reply.

” .. the representative of Argentina said that the Malvinas islands, along with South Georgia and South Sandwich islands and surrounding maritime areas, was an integral part of Argentina’s territory and was illegally occupied by the United Kingdom, as acknowledged by different international organizations.  The illegal occupation by the United Kingdom had led the General Assembly to adopt different resolutions recognizing the existence of the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas islands.  Those resolutions urged the parties to restart negotiations in order to find a speedy, peaceful and lasting solution to the dispute. The Organization of American States in June had made a new pronouncement in similar terms. He said it was regrettable that the British Government twisted historic events to cover up its own act of invasion. The United Kingdom should honour the commitment to find a fair and definitive solution to the dispute, in order to accept responsibility.  The principle of self-determination of peoples was the only element for the basis of the United Kingdom’s claims, which was totally inapplicable to this particular dispute.  He regretted that the United Kingdom continued to be irresponsible and to act based on the illicit appropriation of Argentinean assets in violation of international law and in contravention of international agreements. He
reaffirmed Argentina’s legitimate sovereignty rights over the islands and the surrounding maritime areas, which were an integral part of Argentinean national territory.”

Well, that’s about the only new bit. That the UK is twisting history. Coming from Argentina that’s funny. Still, apart from that this year is shaping up as a repeat of last year.

The main question is, will Argentina manage to get a new UN General Assembly Resolution?

http://falklandsnews.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/self-determination-for-all-peoples-fourth-committee/

Self Determination Call at the United Nations

Nice speech from Malawi at the United Nations yesterday.

Foreign Minister Arthur Peter Mutharika, speaking to the UN’s General Assembly, said that the United Nations must renew its commitment to ensure that the world’s 16 remaining non-self-governing territories, home collectively to nearly two million people, are able to exercise their right to self-determination, before going on to praise those Administering Powers which had provided an opportunity for people in their non-self-governing territories to freely choose their destiny.

As there aren’t too many ‘Administering Powers’ left, the presumption must be that he has recognised the United Kingdom’s committment to ensuring that its Overseas Territories (OTs) are as self-determining as possible.

In that vein, the UK’s Minister for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham has just invited all 280,000 residents of the OTs to send their views into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with a new White Paper due early in 2012.

Malawi’s Foreign Minister also called upon the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonization (C24), “to pursue genuine dialogue aimed at finding fresh and more creative ways to eradicate colonialism.”

My views on the dysfunctional and discredited C24 are well-known, but maybe there’s always a glimmer of hope that they’ll get past the obfuscation of Argentina’s annual input and actually recognise that their job is to assist the peoples of the Non-Self Governing Territories to determine their own futures. Not to play sovereignty politics.

The thing I enjoyed most about Peter Mutharika’s reported speech is that he talked about the 16 names on the C24’s list. Not 15!

Malawi is a member of the G77 + China Group. Remember them?

http://falklandsnews.wordpress.com/

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39859&Cr=self+determination&Cr1=