Argentina and Great Britain Reach Joint Statements on the South Atlantic

By Lofaso, Vincent | Washington Report on the Hemisphere, October 11, 2016 | Go to article overview

Argentina and Great Britain Reach Joint Statements on the South Atlantic


Lofaso, Vincent, Washington Report on the Hemisphere


On September 13th, Argentina and Great Britain agreed to improve their relationship by cooperating on national security and trade issues in the South Atlantic. The agreement between the two rival countries was reached at the Argentina Business and Investment Forum in Buenos Aires. This was the first positive joint agreement on the South Atlantic dispute since 1999. According to Mercopress, "they agreed to work toward removing restrictive measures around the oil and gas industry, shipping and fishing affecting the Falkland Islands in the coming months. Both delegations expressed support for a project to identify the remains of unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the Falkland Islands, emphasizing the humanitarian nature of this work." So far, none of the discussions have had any effect on questions relating to the sovereignty of the Falklands. Argentina still does not recognize the United Kingdom's possession of the islands even though the Falkland Islanders, also known as Kelpers, overwhelmingly want to remain part of the UK. Great Britain still recognizes the Kelpers' right to self-determination. The Argentine Government claims that the islands have always belonged to Argentina and it is their goal to maintain the Malvinas as sovereign territory.

The proposed statements at the Argentina Business and Investment Forum have called for closer trade and cultural ties, reaching common ground on new investment opportunities, increasing access to science and technological innovations, as well as fighting corruption and crime. With the end of this year's G20 Summit, it is scheduled that Argentina will take the reigns as the organization's new president through 2018. Both countries also want to cooperate on international security and prevent the expansion of terrorism. Together, they pledge to combat "specific issues such as human rights, nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the fight against drugs, terrorism and organized crime."

Great Britain and Argentina have already made significant progress in normalizing relations. Last month, new British Prime Minister Theresa May reached out to Argentine president Mauricio Macri about normalizing relations between the two countries regarding the British overseas territory. Such dialogue could lead to direct flights between the Malvinas and Argentina and lifting restrictions by Argentina on British oil exploration. Sir Alan Duncan, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, has made it clear that Argentina and Great Britain are making progress on sending more flights to and from the Falklands from coastal cities like Rio Gallegos, Argentina and Punta Arenas, Chile. According to Telesur, "a weekly flight runs from Santiago de Chile. Only one monthly flight operates from mainland Argentina, running from Rio Gallegos in the southern Santa Cruz province, which is still at least a three-hour flight from Buenos Aires. More frequent flights are expected to operate in the same way from Chile." The United Kingdom must normalize relations as much as possible with Argentina in order to avoid wasting time and placing the British people and Royal Armed Forces in danger of another Argentine invasion.

Argentina and Great Britain are two very important countries in the international community. We have to be careful about drawing parallels between the 1982 war in the South Atlantic and the dispute the two countries are having today. Neither side wants an armed conflict, but the Falklands are not only important to Britain, but they are important to Argentina too. This issue is not only a political issue, but also one of Argentine identity. The islands have been under Argentine control since Argentina's independence in 1816. Argentina has felt that these islands have belonged to them for over a century. …

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