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Falkland Islands: Argentina and UK clash at UN

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Triton

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Wednesday, March 27th 2013 - 08:04 UTC

"Falkland Islands: Argentina and UK clash at UN: no talks without the accord of Islanders"

Source:
http://en.mercopress.com/2013/03/27/falkland-islands-argentina-and-uk-clash-at-un-no-talks-without-the-accord-of-islanders

Argentina's Foreign minister Hector Timerman together with Latam representatives called on UN chief Ban Ki Moon and demanded talks with the UK on the Falklands/Malvinas Islands sovereignty, but Britain again refused, pointing to the Islanders' overwhelming vote this month to remain British.

Speaking on Tuesday at the United Nations, Timerman called the referendum “illegal” and said it is “truly deplorable” that Britain has rejected 40 resolutions by the UN Decolonization Committee and UN General Assembly calling for negotiations between the two countries on sovereignty.

Timerman was flanked at a press conference by ministers representing major Latam regional organizations, saying they wanted to demonstrate the region's unity in support of Argentina's claim to the Falklands and its demand for sovereignty.

The Argentine minister was accompanied at the 30 minutes interview with Ban Ki-Moon by his peers from Cuba and Uruguay, Bruno Rodriguez and Luis Almagro, representing Celac and Mercosur and Peruvian Deputy minister Jose Beraun for Unasur.

However Britain's UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said it was “untenable” for Argentina to reject the overwhelming vote in favor of British rule. The referendum this month managed a 92% turnout and 99.8% voted in favor of remaining British.

Timerman called the vote “illegal” and said the Falklands, held by Britain since the 18th century, are “a matter of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“Questions cannot be asked to the occupier if they are happy to continue occupying a territory which is not theirs. The question is to whom do these islands belong?”

The British ambassador responded: “It is disappointing that Mr Timerman and his colleagues spent so little time talking about the Falkland Islanders and the wishes of the Falkland islanders.”

He added: “Their views are now unequivocally on the record and should be respected by all. Argentina's dismissal of the referendum as illegal and irrelevant is untenable”.

The UN Secretary General has offered his “good offices” to try to end the dispute, but Britain insists however that there can be no talks on the Falklands without the accord of the Islanders.

“We must continue to insist,” said Timerman. “Of course we would like the secretary general to wear down the other party and not be worn out”. Timerman insisted in calling the vote “illegal” and said the Falklands are “a matter of sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Argentina raises the Falklands case each year at the UN's decolonization committee. Britain boycotts the event though Falklands' legislators speak there each year.

“The United Kingdom government's position will remain that there will not and cannot be any discussions on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until the Islanders so wish” insisted Lyall Grant.

Timerman also denounced Britain's “military invasion” of the Falklands but said Argentina wants a peaceful settlement.

He claimed that Britain wants the Falklands as a military base “with high offensive technology close to the Antarctic and close to the only natural waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific.” He called this “a strategic colonialist decision.”

Timerman also accused Britain of refusing to answer “if there are nuclear submarines or not in the area of the south Atlantic, which is an area of peace where the entry of nuclear weapons is prohibited.”

Lyall Grant said Timerman claim that Britain is militarizing the south Atlantic “is completely untrue”. He pointed out the defence presence in the Falklands has not changed substantially in the last 30 years since the end of the Argentine invasion in 1982.

Ban Ki-Moon’s office version of events was that the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Cuba, Peru and Uruguay discussed the issue of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas during their meeting on Tuesday at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom have been engaged in a dispute concerning the sovereignty of the Islands, located in the South Atlantic Ocean.

According to a read-out of the meeting, the Secretary-General acknowledged the strong regional support on this issue and reiterated that his good offices to resolve this dispute remain available, if the parties are willing to engage.

The Falkland Islands (Malvinas) is one of 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, along with Gibraltar, New Caledonia, Western Sahara, American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands and Tokelau.
 

Triton

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Can Britain adequately defend the Falkland Islands in the event of aggression by Argentina without Harrier II and HMS Illustrious configured as a helicopter carrier? Can Britain assemble a strike force to adequately wage a second Falklands War?
 

Orionblamblam

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Without getting into the politics, one thing I've never understood: if Argentina *really* wants the Falklands (as opposed to just wanting to have something to complain about), then why doesn't Argentina do the simple and obvious thing? Buy the vote.

The Brits say they'll turn over the Falklands if the islanders vote to do so. According to Wiki, the 2012 population was about 2,800. OK, offer each and every one of them $5,000,000 US (or the Argentine/UK/Euro equivalent) to vote to become part of Argentina. That would cost $14 billion. It would seem cheap compared to a war. Again according to Wiki, the Argentine national budget is $169 Billion US; so a one-time expenditure of less than 10% of the annual government expenses would buy Argentina the Falklands, with no need for a single shot fired. Heck, they might even start off by lowballing the Falklanders... who knows, $500,000 each might do it.

The Brits would then be faced with a choice: to outbid the Argentines, or not. If not, that's an admission that the Falklands don't really matter (or, worse, that they'll go back on their word about letting the locals vote). But if they *do* outbid the Argentinians, they're faced with a new pack of troubles:
1) Next year, when Argentina comes back with another offer and another vote, thus leading to potentially the biggest "welfare payout" in history for the Falklanders, with the Brits forced to shovel millions at each one eve year
2) If it becomes understood that Brits can leave the UK if they simply choose to do so, unless paid handsomely by the BritGuv, you'll see a *lot* of Brits deciding to pull up stakes in order to try for a payout. The Peoples Democraft Republic of Liverpool, perhaps.
 

Mat Parry

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:) I think you'll find the PDR of Liverpool already exists in all but name, the ultimate example being most liverpudlians don't even support the English football team, nevermind any notion of britishness.

in answer to triton's question, no I don't think so, however one might hope that Argentina is being "observed" (as far as I know we do not have our own spy sats?). At the first sign of Argentinian mobilisation you might expect a migration of typhoons, tornados, tankers, troop transports and AWACS to shore up the defenses. If we were too late to get these in place and we had to do a repeat of 1982 we would need "some help".... Can we have our harriers back please? Ah go on we helped in your oil wars (in truth we would need the marines and I don't mean the royal ones)
 

Orionblamblam

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Mat Parry said:
If we had to do a repeat of 1982 we would need "some help".... Can we have our harriers back please? ( in truth we would need more than just that)
I believe that Britain no longer has carriers or long range strategic strike aircraft capable of reaching Argentina from any allied bases other than the Falklands. If I am correct, and the Argentinians manage to take control of the base, I'm not sure how Britain would be able to prosecute a successful war without getting the US to pitch in carrier support. And I seriously doubt the current administration is going to go along with that.

So if Argentina *really* wanted to militarily take back the Falklands, now would seem a good time... assuming that *Argentina* had any sort of force projection capability. Why anyone would want to fight over those rocks, though, escapes me.
 

Mat Parry

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Oops sorry, I was editing my blather as you quoted me. I can only assume there must be some oil in the sea around those rocks
 

Triton

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Mat Parry said:
I can only assume there must be some oil in the sea around those rocks
Hey, what do you know about that? 400 million barrels.

Bloomberg News
"Falkland Oil Claimed by Argentina Sees Islanders Join 1%"
By Brian Swint on March 27, 2013

Source:
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-03-27/falkland-oil-claimed-by-argentina-sees-islanders-join-1-percent-energy

The Falklands’ first commercial oil discovery will make the islands in the South Atlantic rich, bringing the British territory of 2,563 people $10.5 billion in tax revenue over 25 years.

As the bounty transforms the fishing and tourism-dependent economy, tensions may worsen with Argentina, which claims sovereignty over the islands and their mineral wealth. The Latin American country last year threatened to sue any company involved in Falklands drilling and its foreign minister said yesterday the islanders have no right to self-determination.

The local government is already starting a wealth fund to manage the cash. On the agenda: paving the main highway from the airport to the capital of Stanley, improving the port to take larger ships and reimbursing the 60 million pounds ($90 million) the U.K. spends annually on soldiers, jets and ships to defend the islands, which Argentina attacked in 1982.

“In times of recession, it’s difficult for people in the U.K. to justify spending money on a small population on the other end of the world,” said Andrea Clausen, 41, who owns a transport business and is a member of the Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce. “But as long as Argentina claims the Falklands in its constitution, the threat won’t go away.”

The offshore Sea Lion oil discovery may generate government revenues of about $160,000 per person each year when it starts production 2017, according to Edison Investment Research. That’s equivalent to the after-tax income of a top 1 percent earner in Britain, figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies show.
Learn Lessons

Britain has no claim on the windfall, which will change life on the islands in ways residents are struggling to grasp. Falkland officials in December visited Norway and the Shetland Islands to learn lessons from similar funds, to avoid inflation or poor financial management.

The discovery “will no doubt be transformational for the islands, increasing government revenue several times over,” Mineral Resources Minister Stephen Luxton said in an interview. “What we’re looking for in a sovereign wealth fund is long-term economic security, a second string to our financial bow to the fishery,” he said, referring to the territory’s commercial fishing business.

It’s the islands’ decision about whether to spend money from oil revenue on defense, an official for the U.K. foreign office said, who declined to be identified in line with government practice. U.K. spending per islander is close to the median British salary of 26,500 pounds last year.
Argentina’s Claim

Oil wealth may prompt Argentina to step up pressure on the U.K., which first settled the islands in 1766, to resume talks over sovereignty. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said the Falklands’ status perpetuates colonialism.

The U.K. rejects Argentina’s claim. A referendum last month saw all but four Falkland citizens vote in favor of staying British, three decades after Argentina invaded and Margaret Thatcher went to war to retake the territory.

Fernandez asked her countryman Pope Francis to help persuade the U.K. to open talks on sovereignty of the islands, a day before he became the 266th bishop of Rome.

Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said yesterday that the Falklands referendum was illegal and wasn’t recognized by the United Nations. The U.K. rejected an offer by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to mediate on the dispute.

Sea Lion contains about 400 million barrels of oil, according to Rockhopper Exploration Plc (RKH), the explorer that made the discovery three years ago. Premier Oil Plc (PMO), a U.K. oil company, agreed to take over operating the field last year with a $1 billion investment. Premier expects spending up until first oil, still four years away, to be about $3 billion.

Rockhopper rose 0.7 percent to close at 152.8 pence as London today. Premier gained 0.2 percent to 394.8 pence.
 

Orionblamblam

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TaiidanTomcat said:
This thread could get really entertaining. B)
Ah, my second favorite thing in the universe...

So long as the politics gets kept more or less to a minimum, the thread should do ok. And even then it might hang on. For instance, what *would* lead the US to take an active military role? The US didn't back in '82, and that was when we had a President who *didn't* hate British colonialism.

If Argentina replicated '82, what could the UK do on its own to get the Falklands back? They could put subs, destroyers and commercial cargo vessels on the scene in a few weeks, but by that time the Argentinians could have *loaded* the island with troops and armaments. Theoretically.

Still, simply bribing the locals would seem to be the easiest solution.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Triton said:
Can Britain adequately defend the Falkland Islands in the event of aggression by Argentina without Harrier II and HMS Illustrious configured as a helicopter carrier? Can Britain assemble a strike force to adequately wage a second Falklands War?
You might need more than Harriers. Last time around because of the lack of infrastructure the only combat aircraft the Argies could deploy into the Falklands were light strike. If there was a this time around and if the Argentines could capture the Falklands (big ifs) then they would have a nice full size airbase on the islands. They could base their Mirages, Skyhawks and Super Entendards there so significantly improving their ability to fight for the islands.

But I would imagine the world political scene would be a lot different if this happened compared to ’82 (no Cold War). Argentina’s claims to the Falklands are ridiculous and their recent posturing sounds more like Iran/North Korea blather than anything sensible. The UK might be able to secure UN security council support for a liberation operation (unless Russia was to spite it). Even without a UNSC mandated international force the UK could leverage their finances and friends to acquire an ersatz carrier. Something like a lease of a USN carrier or Charles de Gaulle could put them back in the game.

The few months needed to make this operational would allow them to bring the rest of the fleet into first line condition and then off they go. One of the things about the ’82 Falklands Operation was the UK effectively sent their task force down there with no preparation time. Which caused significant operational shortcomings in equipment and training as well as sending the wrong task force command element (an anti-submarine flotilla HQ that just happened to be the furthest south rather than the actual carrier/amphib warfare flotilla HQ). A few weeks of preparation would have overcome these problems and made for a far more effective task force.
 

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Triton said:
Can Britain adequately defend the Falkland Islands in the event of aggression by Argentina without Harrier II and HMS Illustrious configured as a helicopter carrier? Can Britain assemble a strike force to adequately wage a second Falklands War?
Not as such, but it might be an opportunity to test some of the *sans-carriers* theories out there. Would modern DDGs be able to protect the landing force from air-attack on their own? Would TLAM-equipped SSNs be able to handle the strike missions?
 

Thorvic

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Pointless trolling by the Argentine government
 
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