The Express: Falklands warning: UK needs to act in face of Argentina sabre-rattling, says MP

This article was first published in The Daily Express on 29/07/2020 by CIARAN MCGRATH.

ARGENTINA’s renewed belligerence with respect to the Falkland Islands clearly underlines just why the UK Government should consider making the remote archipelago a full member of the United Kingdom, Tory MP John Penrose has said.

The future of the Falklands – invaded by Argentina in 1982, triggering a ten-week war which resulted in the deaths of almost 1,000 UK and Argentinian servicemen – are once more on the agenda after the country’s legislature backed two Bills sent by Mr Fernandez clearly aimed at testing the UK’s ongoing resolve. The first piece of legislation creates a National Council of Affairs Relating to the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands in order to push Buenos Aires’ sovereignty claims, while the second asserts Argentina’s rights over the use of the oil-rich seabed and subsoil of the continental shelf.

“The simplest, strongest way to keep the Falkland Islands and our other Overseas Territories safe is to make them equal parts of the UK alongside Wales, England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Responding to the news, Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s Secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic of the Chancellery, said: “It is of enormous importance that all parliamentary blocks agree that it is necessary that the Malvinas issue becomes a true State policy.”

Mr Filmus also protested vociferously about military exercises in the Falklands earlier this month.

He said: “The British exercises violate all the recommendations approved by the United Nations and by the agreements of the South Atlantic countries.

“Argentina reiterates the call to the United Kingdom not to carry out military actions in the region and to resume diplomatic negotiations for sovereignty in the islands under the conditions established by UN resolution 2065.”

A statement issued by the country’s Foreign Ministry added: “Argentina rejects in the strongest terms the carrying out of these naval, aerial and military manoeuvres in Argentine territory illegitimately occupied by the United Kingdom, which constitutes an unjustified demonstration of force.

The Argentinian government vowed to maintain “its rejection of the British military presence in the South Atlantic, struggling for international support.

“Under the premise that this presence is contrary to the region’s policy of adherence to the search for a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute.”

On June 10, the 191st anniversary of the appointment of Luis Vernet, who established the first settlement on the Falklands in 1828, as its Governor, Mr Fernandez tweeted: “On the Day of the Affirmation of Argentine Rights over the Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich and the surrounding maritime spaces, we ratify our peaceful demand for the end of colonialism and the full exercise of sovereignty over said territories.”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told “Our position on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is in no doubt, with the Islanders making clear they wish to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

“There can be no discussions on sovereignty unless and until the Falkland Islanders so wish.”

The Falklands are located approximately 400 miles off the east coast of Argentina.

June 20 marked the 38th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War.