The British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverlyannounced on Sunday, at an evening reception during the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, a visit to the Falkland Islandsas a show of support for the self-determination of the territory.
Cleverly has been embroiled in a dispute with Argentina since earlier this year, when Buenos Aires withdrew from a cooperation agreement with Britain, urging London to discuss sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
The minister spoke of a “disagreement” with the Argentine Government about the Malvinas, after Buenos Aires notified London in March that it was ending the “Foradori-Duncan” pact, by which both capitals agreed to cooperate in sectors such as transport. maritime and fishing, as well as in the identification of remains of Argentine soldiers who fell in the Falklands War in 1982.
“Some of you may have noticed that, Since they have an election coming up, they are trying to make a bit of a show of force. when it comes to the people of the Falklands (as the British call the Malvinas Islands),” said the British minister.
“I believe in the right of people to self-determination. The people of the islands have made their position clear and we need a conservative government to ensure they and others around the world are protected“added the conservative politician, in the middle of his party’s summit to discuss how to overcome the unfavorable polls.
“And just to emphasize that point, I am going to take the opportunity to visit the Falklands because I believe it is my job to make it absolutely clear that a Conservative government can be trusted to look after the best interests of this country. and those others around the world who depend on good British government, including, of course, the wonderful and brave people of Ukraine who are currently defending themselves from Russian aggression,” Cleverly explained in his address.
Cleverly’s eventual visit, which could raise tensions with Argentina, It would be the first by a member of the British government since 2016when the then defense secretary, Michael Fallon, traveled to the Falklands.
The previous visit by a British Foreign Minister to the islands occurred in 2014 when the head of that portfolio at that time, also from the Conservative Party, Hugo Swire, traveled to the territory, which provoked the anger of the Argentine authorities.
Last year, Princess Anne visited the islands to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Falklands War, and was criticized by the Government of Argentina, which called it an exercise in “illegal British occupation.”
The South Atlantic archipelago, located 400 kilometers from the Argentine coast and almost 13,000 km from the United Kingdom, was the scene of a 74 day war in 1982which left 649 Argentines and 255 British dead.
Last July, the British government criticized the European Union (EU) by include the term Falkland Islands to refer to the archipelago in dispute with Argentina, in the declaration of the summit with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
In 2013, in a referendum in the territory of just 2,000 inhabitants, 99.8% of voters voted to remain under British control.
Argentina defends that the islands, inherited from the Spanish crown after its independence, were occupied by British troops in 1833.
Weeks ago, when speaking before the UN General Assembly, President Alberto Fernández claimed Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas, and recalled that the islands have been “illegally occupied for almost two centuries” by the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, within the framework of the electoral campaign, the presidential candidate of La Libertad Avanza, Javier Milei, considered that for Argentina to recover the Malvinas Islands there must be “an agreement with England” and that to reach that understanding “there is no may be unaware of the position of the people who live” in the archipelago that Great Britain has usurped since 1833.
(With information from AFP, Telam and EFE)