Argentina Rejects Falklands Talks

Article excerpt

ARGENTINA'S foreign minister was criticised today for turning down talks with William Hague on the Falklands because the Foreign Secretary insisted islanders should be present.

Representatives of the Falklands government were flying to London this weekend to tell Hector Timerman that Buenos Aires should respect the position of the inhabitants that they want the islands to remain British.

But Mr Timerman, who had asked for a one-to-one meeting with Mr Hague, said last night he would not accept the offer of talks involving the Port Stanley government, which Argentina does not recognise as legitimate. The United Nations regards the dispute over the islands -- which Argentina calls the Malvinas -- as a bilateral issue between Buenos Aires and London, he said.

Mr Timerman added that he was sorry Mr Hague "can't meet without the supervision of the colonists from the Malvinas".

Lord West, former head of the Navy and a Falklands war hero, criticised the Argentinian stance.

"It's very unfortunate that they are unwilling to allow the Falkland islanders to be involved in the talks," he said. "It shows their complete disdain for the views of the indigenous people of the Falklands." Mr Timerman invited Mr Hague to meet him instead in Buenos Aires, where he said "my fellow foreign ministers can freely meet with whomever they wish without being pressured or having their presence conditioned on meetings that they haven't asked for and don't interest them". …