London Unwilling to Negotiate Sovereignty of Falkland Islands

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Source: El Informante

London has reiterated its unwillingness to negotiate with Argentina regarding the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands in spite of calls at the United Nations General Assembly meeting, on September 26, from a group of foreign ministers from the G77 and China for dialogue to recommence between the two nations. This most recent appeal for negotiation was triggered by the actions of Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who stated at the General Assembly meeting that she was prepared to suspend bilateral agreements, particularly regarding air travel between the Falklands and Argentina, if London refuses to enter a dialogue on the matter. Although the two nations have maintained an amicable diplomatic relationship on a number of other issues, the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands continues to strain diplomatic relations between Argentina and the UK.

The sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, an archipelago some 460 km (290 miles) south of Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean, has been a source of dispute since the re-establishment of British rule in 1833.  In 1982, Argentina assumed control of the islands by force, provoking a seventy-two day war between the two nations, wherein Argentina was ultimately forced to surrender.  In 1995, Argentina officially announced that it would no longer seek to occupy the archipelago by force.  Since then, the British Geological Survey has concluded that there are substantial oil reserves surrounding the islands that could be capable of producing upwards of 500,000 barrels per day. When Desire Petroleum, a UK oil exploration company, began drilling activities in the disputed territory in early 2010, tensions flared once again between UK and Argentina. To date, there has been little advancement in a solution on the matter, due to the UK consistently refusing to negotiate with Argentina over the past few decades, and the inflammatory rhetoric used by Argentine politicians looking to curry domestic political favor.