Falklands fury: Argentina leader Fernandez blasts ‘illegal UK occupation’ in fiery UN rant

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The Peronist leader, who has stepped up his country’s sovereignty push since his election last year, used the event at a platform to stake his claim on the British overseas territory in a move which will have been noted in London. And he also took a swipe at what he referred to as the UK’s “excessive and unjustified military presence” on the Falklands, which Argentina refers to as the Malvinas.

Mr Fernandez’s speech was pre-recorded as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the assembly to be held online.

He said: “I want to reaffirm the legitimate and imprescriptible sovereign rights of the Argentine Republic over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime spaces, which are an integral part of the national territory of Argentina and which have been illegally occupied by the United Kingdom for more than 187 years.

“This year it will be the 55th anniversary of resolution 2065, the first one adopted by this organisation on this issue, which asked Argentina and the United Kingdom to hold negotiations that would allow reaching a peaceful and definitive solution to this sovereignty dispute.

“That order has remained in force and has been renewed many times.”

With reference to a decision by the UN’s C24 committee last month, he added: “More recently with the adoption by consensus of a new resolution of the special decolonisation committee on August 5.”

Turning his attention to Britain, Mr Fernandez said: “The United Kingdom persists in its attitude of ignoring the call to resume negotiations regarding the territorial dispute and has aggravated the controversy over calls for the illegal and unilateral exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources in the area, which is contrary to resolution 31/49 of this assembly.

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The UK also insists on the excessive and unjustified military presence on the islands

Alberto Fernandez

“The UK also insists on the excessive and unjustified military presence on the islands that does nothing more than bringing tension to a region characterised by being a zone of peace and international cooperation.”

Argentina has made frequent attempts to involve the United Nations in the dispute over the Falkland Islands over the years, many of which are outlined by Graham Pascoe in his recently published book, Falklands Facts and Fallacies.

Mr Pascoe told Express.co.uk last month: “Argentina has always used the UN to further its case for sovereignty over the Falklands.

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“It is significant that Argentina has never taken its case to the International Court of Justice.

“The Convention of Peace ended “all national differences” between Britain and Argentina, and after its ratification in 1850 Argentina did not mention the Falklands to Britain for over a third of a century.

“That demonstrates that Argentina had accepted that the Falklands were British, not Argentinian.

“The Convention of Peace is well known to Argentine historians, some of whom have complained about it in books, but Argentine politicians have successfully kept it secret at the UN and in contacts with Britain – and the British Foreign Office didn’t do its homework and failed to find out about it.”

Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982, prompting then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to send a task force to the south Atlantic.

Almost 1,000 soldiers were killed during the resultant war, which resulted in Argentinian forces being expelled and the UK reclaiming the islands.

However, Argentina has never relinquished its claim, and three new laws related to the territories were approved by the country’s Congress earlier this year.

The first created a National Council for Matters Relating to the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the second aims to tighten up sanctions against ships Argentina claims to be breaching fishing regulations in the waters surrounding the Falklands, and the third relates to the demarcation of the outer limit of the Argentine Continental Shelf

Speaking earlier this week, Daniel Filmus, secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic, said the new laws “confirm the conviction that the fight for sovereignty over the Malvinas must be a State policy that transcends electoral calendars”.

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