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Argentina reacts angrily to Falklands’ new constitution

Posted by seumasach on November 7, 2008


7th November, 2008

Argentina sharply criticised on Thursday Britain’s approval of a new constitution for the disputed Falkland Islands, saying it had lodged a formal complaint with London for which is had summoned UK’s Chargé d’Affairs in Buenos Aires.

“It constitutes a flagrant violation of the mandate accorded us by the United Nations,” Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taina said at a press conference, adding that Buenos Aires had formally filed a complaint to London.

“The Argentine Government will denounce this violation of Argentine sovereignty and international law before the international community”. Mr Taina said Britain was trying to perpetuate “an anachronistic colonial situation”.

The new Falklands constitution, announced Thursday after approval by Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, enters into force on January 1, and enshrines the principle of self determination of the peoples of the disputed Islands.

In a statement issued in Britain, London’s junior foreign minister Gillian Merron said the measure would boost local democracy while keeping intact London’s authority to protect British interests.

“What it does not do is change the UK Government’s overall commitment to the Islands as an overseas territory,” Ms Merron said. “Nor does it change the right to self-determination, fundamental to our relationship with all of our overseas territories.”

The release from the Argentine Foreign Affairs ministry describes the UK decision as a “unilateral action” contrary to the repeated mandates of United Nations and a violation of the provisional understandings spirit, “related to practical affairs in the area illegitimately occupied by the UK”.

“The so-called constitution refers to the principle of self determination of peoples which is totally contrary and therefore inapplicable to the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the UK over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands” adds the release. 

“As such it has been recognized by the UN General Assembly and the Decolonization Committee which omits all reference to such principle (of self determination) in resolutions referred to the question of the Islas Malvinas. Furthermore the UN General Assembly specifically rejected the application of such principle to the question of the Malvinas on two occasions in 1985”

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