Falklands 30 - the Argentine Build-Up
The TELEGRAPH View - 7 December 2011.
The Government would be well advised to pay heed to the distant sound of sabre-rattling in the South Atlantic.
In recent months, Cristina Kirchner, Argentina’s president, has taken a steadily more belligerent stance over the issue of the Falkland Islands.
At a time when the Royal Navy has insufficient ships to train its sailors at sea, the Government would be well advised to pay heed to the distant sound of sabre-rattling in the South Atlantic. In recent months, Cristina Kirchner, Argentina’s president, has taken a steadily more belligerent stance over the issue of the Falkland Islands. The most recent provocation has been to detain a number of Spanish fishing boats on the grounds that they are in breach of Argentina’s “blockade” of the seas around the Falkland Islands.
If this seems rather petty, let us not forget that the Falklands conflict began after a group of Argentine scrap metal merchants landed on South Georgia and raised their national flag.
Argentina is no longer run by a junta, but Mrs Kirchner remains as committed as her military predecessors to establishing Argentine sovereignty over the “Malvinas”. She also knows she can count on the support of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the new bloc of nations that has formally given its backing to Argentina’s claim.
The renewed tensions over the Falklands have arisen as the Duke of Cambridge, a flight lieutenant in the RAF, prepares to deploy to the South Atlantic in February. But unlike 1982 – when his uncle, Prince Andrew, served as part of the task force sent to recapture the islands – it is highly unlikely that Britain could repeat the mission, particularly since we no longer have an aircraft carrier available. Nor, given France’s ambivalence over the issue, would there be any realistic prospect of borrowing a French carrier, as stipulated under the recent Anglo-French defence pact.
All the more reason, then, for the Foreign Office to take care that a minor diplomatic spat does not develop into something more serious.
Argentina launches naval campaign to isolate Falkland Islands
Argentina has launched a naval campaign to isolate the Falkland Islands that has seen it detain Spanish fishing vessels on suspicion of breaking the country’s “blockade” of the seas around the British territories.
By Fergus MacErlean from the Daily Telegraph 5 December 2011.
Argentine patrol vessels have boarded 12 Spanish boats, operating under fishing licences issued by the Falkland Islands, for operating “illegally” in disputed waters in recent weeks.
Argentine patrol commanders carrying out interceptions near the South American coast told Spanish captains they were in violation of Argentina’s “legal” blockade of sea channels to the Falklands.
The warning has been backed up in a letter to Aetinape, the Spanish fishing vessels association from the Argentine embassy in Madrid warning boats in the area that “Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and adjoining maritime spaces are an integral part of the Argentine territory.”
The confrontation strategy targetting foreign boats marks an escalation of tensions in seas that Duke of Cambridge, a Flight Lieutenant with the RAF, is set to patrol during a tour of duty last year.
The Duke is to be deployed to the Falklands next February as part of a routine training duties. Commanders would face the dilemma of despatching the Royal to take part in an operations to monitor or contain the Argentine challenge.
President Cristina Kirchner has adopted a steadily more beligerent stance towards Britain’s South Atlantic possessions.
A newly formed gathering of South American nations meeting in Venezeula backed Argentina’s sovereignty demands at the weekend.
Argentina’s claim over the Falklands was backed by a newly formed block of South American and Caribbean countries, CELAC, on Saturday with unanimous approval. Mrs Kirchner used the last UN General Assembly meeting to put Argentina’s claims of sovereignty over the Falklands on a par with Palestinian claims to statehood.
But it is the Falklands economic lifeline that has been most affected by Argentinian manoeurving.
It announced permits were required by all ships using Argentine waters en route to the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, all of which are UK controlled.
Argentina declared vessels were “operating illegally” in the South Atlantic if they did not request permission to enter Argentine waters. The authorities declared their willingness “to put an end to all those illegal fishing activities”.
The vessels, from Galicia, were boarded as they were making their way across the huge Rio de la Plata estuary, which separates Argentina and Uruguay, before off-loading their catches in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Mrs Kirchner, 58, has also threatened to suspend a vital Falklands air link — the only one off the islands — which was established in a 1999 deal between the UK and Argentina unless Britain entered into talks leading to sovereignty negotiations.
A Foreign Office spokesman said Britain had lodged an official complaint about the Argentine action. “We are aware that Argentina has recently challenged vessels transiting between the Falklands and the port of Montevideo,” the spokesman said. “The UK has protested to Argentina. We consider that it is not compliant with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Mike Summers, a member of the Falkland Islands legislative assembly, said Argentina was trying to cut the Islands off from the South American mainland. “The Falkland Islands Government has no doubt about its right to issue licenses to foreign companies to fish in its waters,” he said. “There have been other difficulties in recent months with Falklands flagged vessels seeking to use South American ports; Argentina seeks to prevail on its neighbours to implement its foreign policy for it, by denying access to their ports for vessels doing business in the Falklands.”
Argentina wants a provocative 'Falklands are ours' badge at Olympics.
Argentina has proposed sending its athletes to the London Olympics wearing provocative badges declaring the Falklands are Argentine.
It wants an image of the islands to be emblazoned on national team clothing at the Games, which will be held just weeks after Britain commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict. Athletes’ shirts would also bear the legend ‘Las Islas Malvinas son Argentinas’ – the Falklands Islands are Argentine. Malvinas is the Spanish name for the islands.
Rosana Bertone, a member of President Cristina Kirchner’s Front for Victory coalition, has put forward a Bill with cross-party support to the National Congress.
She said the move was ‘a peaceful way of defending our rights to the islands’.
Last night Andrew Rosindell, Tory MP for Romford, said: ‘If this goes ahead, it would be a terrible insult to the people of the Falkland Islands, who have a democratic right to be British.
‘It is not for Argentina to abuse their participation in the Olympics and play politics. They should not be allowed to participate if they are going to promote an illegal political cause.’
After Argentina invaded in 1982, a task force recaptured the Falklands at a cost of 255 British lives, 655 Argentines and three islanders.
President Kirchner insists Argentina and Britain should negotiate over the islands, despite the clear wish of the inhabitants to stay British.
Prince William, a flight lieutenant with the RAF, is to be deployed to the Falklands next February as part of a routine training exercise.
Argentine official Sebastian Brugo Marco, who has responsibility in Buenos Aries for the South Atlantic territory, has described the prince’s tour as ‘one more provocative act that shows Britain’s military presence in a zone of peace’.
If the Argentine Falklands Bill is passed the International Olympic Committee would have to approve the badges.
A spokesman said it had ‘strict rules in place to handle such matters’.
Yesterday Mike Summers, a member of the Falkland Islands legislative assembly, said: ‘The people of the Falkland Islands have the right to self-determination under international law and we ask every nation to respect our freedoms.’
Provocative - the image: The badge Argentinian sportsmen are threatening to wear at the London Olympics featuring the Falkland Islands.
This article by Daniel Martin from the Daily Mail, 2 December 2011.
The 33-nation CELAC grants full support to Argentina in the Falklands’ dispute.
The members of the newly former CELAC (Community of Latinamerican and Caribbean States) unanimously approved on Saturday a document in support of Argentina’s claim over the Falklands/Malvinas and anticipated they would request the intervention of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
President Piñera will be hosting the next CELAC summit and Cuba in 2013
According to the text, CELAC instructed the pro-tempore presidency, now in the hands of Chile’s Sebastian Piñera to petition UN Bank Ki-moon to renew his efforts for the resumption of negotiations between Argentina and the UK referred to the Falklands/Malvinas dispute.
The so called Special Communiqué Project on the Malvinas Islands, states that the members of CELAC support “Argentina’s legitimate rights in the sovereignty dispute over the Falklands/Malvinas, Georgia del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands, as well as its surrounding maritime spaces.
The document reiterates the standing interest of Latin America and the Caribbean that the UK accepts to hold sovereignty talks with Argentina so as to find “on the shortest time possible” a peaceful and definitive solution to the dispute.
The request is presented in conformity with statements from the United Nations, the Organization of American States, UNASUR and Mercosur as well as expressed in previous resolutions by the Group of Rio and the Latin America and Caribbean integration and development summit, which as of now are integrated into CELAC.
The 33-nation CELAC for the next twelve months under Chilean President Piñera also condemned the US embargo on Cuba and demanded an end to this ‘coercion’ measure.
“We demand an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade” imposed on Havana since 1962 because it is contrary to International law and to abidance of successive UN General Assembly resolutions.
The blockade causes “huge and unjustified damages to the well being of the Cuban people and affects peace and neighbourly relations among American nations. The coercion and unilateral measures are applied because of “political motives”
Allegedly the blockade is intended “to prevent Cubans from exercising their right to decide their own will, their political, economic and social system”.
However the two statements don’t seem to be strictly aligned to the spirit of Article 23 from the CELAC declaration which “acknowledges the right of each nation to build in peace and in freedom its own political and economic system, as well as from the institutional framework according to the sovereign mandate of its people, the dialogue, exchange and political negotiation process which activated from CELAC must take place in accordance with the following common values and principles: respect for International Law, peaceful solution of controversies; ban on the use and threat of the use of force; respect for self-determination; respect for sovereignty; respect for territorial integrity, the non interference in the internal affairs of each country; protection and promotion of all human rights and democracy”.
Monday, November 28th 2011 - 17:06 UTC
Argentina confirms high seas boarding of Spanish fleet fishing in Falklands
The Argentine government has stepped up its official blockade policy against the Falkland Islands warning Spanish fishing vessels are operating ‘illegally’ in the South Atlantic, since they have not requested licences from the Argentine government, and controls over those activities will continue.
Spanish vessels docked in the port of Montevideo, after undergoing Argentine ‘frisking’According to El Faro de Vigo, the Argentine ambassador in Madrid sent to the Vigo based Spanish high seas fishing vessels association, Aetinape, a letter spelling out that controls on Spanish vessels with Falklands’ fishing licences and other flags but belonging to Spanish companies will continue to be controlled because the “Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands and adjoining maritime spaces are integral part of the Argentine territory”.
Thus the Spanish vessels are ‘illegally operating’ in the South Atlantic because they have not requested licences from the Argentine government and it is Argentina’s duty “to put an end to all those illegal fishing activities”.
In the letter to Aetinape, the ambassador also recalls that on several occasions the Spanish government was informed by Buenos Aires of the ‘irregular’ situation, with the purpose of putting an end to ‘illegal fishing’.
In the letter the Argentine authorities trust that negotiations with the UK “will put an end to this ‘colonial situation’ to which the British government has subdued the Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands”.
However Aetinape understands that the Spanish fleet with licences from the Falklands “part of the British Crown” should not suffer the consequences of the disputes between UK and Argentina authorities.
Earlier Aetinape had sent a protest letter to the Argentine ambassador in Madrid based on a detailed document with all Spanish vessels operating in the South Atlantic and which are “constantly intercepted and harassed by Argentine patrol vessels” when they sail to the port of Montevideo.
The situation according to El Faro de Vigo affects an estimated forty fishing vessels and 600 crewmembers, in both cases all from Galicia, with many of these boarding incidents happening in recent months, in high seas, when the vessels abandon Falklands’ fisheries and sail to Montevideo for transhipment of catches.
Thursday, November 24th 2011 - 18:41 UTC
Chilean ‘Solidarity with Malvinas” group manifests public support for Argentina A Chilean ‘Solidarity with Malvinas” group visited this week the Argentine legation in Santiago to meet Ambassador Ginés González Garcia and express their support for Argentina’s claim over the disputed Falklands and other South Atlantic islands.
Gonzalez Garcia, the former minister has become a very active ambassador. The solidarity group includes political leaders, diplomats, academics, intellectuals and retired military officers from across the political spectrum, according to the Argentine embassy.
The meeting followed a request from the group to meet with the Argentine ambassador.
They include former Chilean ambassadors in Argentina Juan Gabriel Valdés, Eduardo Rodríguez and Luis Maira; diplomats Luis Winter and Eduardo Guarachi; Socialist leader Jaime Gazmuri; Radical leader Mario Papi; the writer Antonio Skármeta; retired Admiral Cristián Millar Drago; businessman Juan Eduardo Errázuriz and the Foreign Policy coordinator from the junior partner of the ruling conservative coalition, Beatriz Corbo.
The request from the solidarity group was “to express their support to the Argentine cause in the Malvinas Islands dispute with Great Britain”, said Ambassador Ginés González García.
“This is a further demonstration of union between two American peoples which unite behind a cause which is considered increasingly fair by a growing number of countries worldwide. It’s an example of the close relations and union between Argentina and Chile” said the Argentine diplomat.
Retired admiral Millar Drago said “this is a clear manifestation of the confidence and certainty many Chileans have of Argentina’s Malvinas claim and is a very important message for the region”.
“We are hopeful we can contribute to create a framework of cooperation for the continuation of negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom”, added the retired naval officer.
“We can’t tolerate that in the XXI century, there are still colonial enclaves in South America”, said Socialist leader Jaime Guzmarin.
He added that the group is made up of a cross section of politicians, diplomats, artists and retired military in support of Argentina’s legitimate claims and “to help tell the world and public opinion that Argentina’s cause is a fair and just cause”.
Similarly the former Chilean ambassador in Argentina and Socialist leader Luis Maira pointed out that “2012 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Malvinas war”.
Finally Juan Gabriel Valdes, former Foreign Affairs minister and ambassador before the UN underlined that Argentina’s claim is legitimate and “we have come to show Chile’s solidarity with Argentina”.
Ambassador Ginés Gonzales Garcia is a former Health minister of President Cristina Fernandez cabinet.
3 November 2011.
Argentine groups take Falklands dispute to Internet domains
The Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty dispute has reached Internet domains with Argentina’s president of internet users appealing to ICANN to cancel ‘fk’ for those pages related to the Islas Malvinas alleging they are not a state or territory.
ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
3 November 2011.
Unasur condemns presence of HMS Montrose in the Falklands 3 November 2011.
The Unions of South of American Nations, Unasur, rejected British military presence in the Falklands/Malvinas Islands and again reiterated their full support for Argentina’s ‘legitimate claims’ in her dispute with the UK over the sovereignty of the South Atlantic islands.
Holding their annual summit in Paraguay last Saturday on the sidelines of the Ibero-American summit Unasur stated that the presence of the HMS Montrose in the South Atlantic for the next six months, as announced by the UK Defence ministry (‘to maintain a continuous presence protecting British interests’), “is contrary to the region’s policy committed to a peaceful solution to the sovereignty controversy”.
Finally Unasur reiterates previous declarations in support of Argentina’s legitimate rights over the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and adjoining maritime spaces and ratifies its permanent regional interest that the UK resumes negotiations with Argentina so as to find as soon as possible, a peaceful and definitive solution to the dispute in conformity with what was established by the international community and UN and OAS resolutions.
From the South Atlantic News Agency.
Two Conservative and two Labour MPs will visit the Falklands in November.
Four members of the British Parliament are scheduled to visit the Falkland Islands for a week beginning November 3, reported the Islands government.
The lawmakers will be traveling with FIG representative in London, Sukey Cameron MBE.
Two Labour Members of Parliament, Gemma Doyle and Ian Murray and two from the Conservative Party, Philip Dunne and Mark Francois along with the Falkland Islands Government London Representative Sukey Cameron MBE will undertake a busy schedule of meetings plus a visit to battlefields and Sea Lion Island during their visit.
The group will be briefed by the Chief Executive, Governor and Members of Legislative Assembly on Friday November 4, before meetings at the Agriculture and Education Departments as well as the Chamber of Commerce.
Gemma Doyle is the Shadow Minister for Defence (MP for West Dunbartonshire) and Ian Murray (MP for Edinburgh South) the Shadow Minister for Business. Mrs Doyle sees her role as primarily to protect defence jobs, of which there are some 17,000 in her area.
Following the recent General Election, Mark Francois was appointed as a senior whip in the Government Whips Office. Mark's title is the Vice Chamberlain of Her Majesty’s Household. In this role, as well as his duties as a whip, Mark also works as a junior liaison officer between the House of Commons and Buckingham Palace.
He was also recently appointed to the Privy Council, which advises HM the Queen on affairs of state
In 2007 he was appointed as the Shadow Minister for Europe, where he worked directly for the Shadow Foreign Secretary the William Hague. In January 2009 Mark was made a Member of the Shadow Cabinet by David Cameron.
Philip Dunne is a a Member of Parliament for Ludlow and Assistant Government Whip. (PN)
From the South Atlantic News Agency 30 October 2011.
CFK will meet Obama (on his request) during the G20 summit in France.
US President Barack Obama has requested to meet with recently re-elected President Cristina Fernández during the next G20 summit to be held on the 3rd and 4th of November in Cannes, France. The request came through Dan Restrepo, from the Latin American Office in the White House, who contacted the Argentine Foreign Ministry to request a meeting with the President.
Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman replied that Cristina Fernández had cleared him to coordinate the details of the meeting, which is expected to take place in France in the first days of November. This is the second contact of the US government in a week. On Monday the Obama administration congratulated President Cristina Fernandez on her victory and said “the US looks forward to working productively with the future Fernandez de Kirchner Administration”. “The United States and Argentina share a history of cooperation, and we will continue to work to strengthen and deepen our partnership. We value Argentina's dedication to democratic governance, human rights, regional stability, and global peace and security,” the e-mail concludes.
The meeting request comes as a surprise since US/Argentina relations are not at their best, particularly since Minister Timerman was involved in the seizure of a suitcase with sensitive US materials belonging to a US Air Force aircraft retained in Buenos Aires. The two countries are also at odds over compensation for US companies that had their assets taken over and have not seen a dime in spite of a World Bank investments tribunal ruling. In reprisal the US has been voting against granting loans to Argentina in multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the Inter American Development bank.
News Report. South Atlantic News Agency.
UK congratulates CFK and reiterates Falklands’ sovereignty is ‘not negotiable’
The British government congratulated Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on her re-election and historic victory in Sunday’s polls but it also insisted that the sovereignty of the Falklands is “not negotiable”.
“We congratulate Cristina Fernandez for her re-election as president of Argentina and look forward to work together in a wide range of global issues which affect us such as climate change, against the proliferation of massive destruction arms, human rights and economic development”, according to a spokesperson for the Foreign Office, quoted by international news agencies. However when asked specifically if the landslide victory of Cristina Fernandez would modify Britain’s position regarding the sovereignty over the Malvinas and other South Atlantic Islands, the spokesperson brushed aside such possibility. “On the issue of the Falklands (Malvinas) we obviously value are ample relation with Argentina but we do not want any issue related to the Falklands dominates our bilateral relations”, added the Foreign Office. “Anyhow our position on the Falklands is well known, there will be no sovereignty negotiations until the Islanders so wish. Sovereignty negotiations will only take place if the people of the Falkland Islands making use of their right to self determination so decide”.
News Report 27 October 2011.
Argentina’s new anti-British Evita wins by a landslide
Cristina Kirchner, the fiery leftist leader who has reinvigorated Argentina’s bid to recover the Falklands, has secured a second term in office with the widest vote margin in Argentine history.
The charismatic President won another four years in Buenos Aires’s Casa Rosada (Pink House) with more than 53 per cent of the vote, according to partial results, after she capitalised on Argentina’s strongly performing economy to make an impressive comeback after years of low approval ratings. Supporters gathered in front of the presidential palace waving flags and setting off fireworks as her opponents conceded defeat and television channels announced a “landslide” victory for 58-year-old Ms Kirchner.
News Report 27 October 2011.
Argentine Navy captain ‘Angel Face’ Astiz sentenced to life imprisonment
Two notorious former Argentine navy officers Alfredo Astiz and “Tigre” Acosta were sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday night after being found guilty of kidnapping, torture and the forced disappearances of many detainees in the former Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) during the last dictatorship (1976/1983).
The blonde captain’s job was to infiltrate human rights organizations and ‘mark’ the victims
As the sentence was read in the courtroom the crowd waiting outside celebrated and cheered which almost caused it to be suspended.
Astiz, who was also known as the baby faced “death angel” acted under the false identity of Gustavo Niño, infiltrated the works of the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in 1977 and “marked” his victims, who were later tortured at the ESMA and thrown alive into the sea from helicopters.
Among them were the founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Azucena Villaflor and the two French nuns Leónie Duquet and Alice Domon.
Other oppressors such as Antonio Pernías, Oscar Montes and Raúl Scheller were also sentenced to life in prison.
A long line of people was seen outside the Buenos Aires courtroom since early in the afternoon, as many of them wanted to hear the reading live. Relatives of the accused were seen standing in line next to family members of those who had disappeared.
Early on Wednesday morning, three of the accused were given the chance to provide the court with their last statements before the reading.
Captain Aztiz was also involved in the Falklands conflict in 1982 and signed the surrender of the South Georgia garrison to the advancing British Task Force that finally recovered the Islands in June. He was flown a prisoner to the UK, but later returned before France requested his extradition on the case of the killing of the two nuns.
The Argentine media has always pointed out that in spite of his defence arguments that as a naval officer he was “trained to kill”, he surrendered in South Georgia “without firing a single shot”.
Astiz was born in November 1951 in Mar del Plata and following the 1976 coup was commissioned to ESMA in the north of Buenos Aires city where the main clandestine jail of the de facto government operated.
He belonged to Task Force 332 and was responsible for innumerable kidnappings that ended at ESMA, many of them to never return. Argentine human rights organizations estimate 5.000 people were detained at ESMA but only 100 survived to tell what went on in those dungeons.
In 1986/87 Astiz was benefited with a general amnesty bill but in 1990 a French court sentenced his to life in absentia for the killing of the two nuns, Domon and Duquet. Seven years later the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon ordered his arrest and extradition together with 44 other Argentine officers charged with genocide.
In 1998 he was discharged in dishonour from the Navy, of which he said to be so proud to belong. He was interviewed several times and admitted admiring the Argentine-Cuban guerrilla Che Guevara and not at all repentant of having fought the “anti Argentine Marxist terrorists”.
News Report 8 October 2011.
The Argentine Congress Foreign Affairs Commission supported a motion from a Tierra del Fuego Deputy for a special coins issue commemorative of the thirtieth anniversary of the (1982) Argentine Islas Malvinas epic geste.
Deputy Liliana Fadul is the sponsor of the proposal
The proposal from Deputy Liliana Fadul who belongs to the Federal Fueguino Party states that the minting should be on time for the 2012 anniversary.
The coin have engraved in its observe side the inscription: “2012 Thirty years of the Argentine Islas Malvinas geste Praise to the fallen” and in the reverse, “The Malvinas, Georgia del Sur, Sandwich del Sur Islands and adjoining maritime spaces are Argentine”.
“We must continue to honour those who bravely defended the Argentine sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas territory. The best way to homage them is promoting, through this kind of initiatives, the memory of their valiant actions”, said Fadul in the presentation of her bill initiative.
The favourable vote from the Foreign Affairs Commission means the proposal now has to pass the Budget and Finance Commission before it goes for a vote in the floor.
Another proposal from Deputy Fadul that received unanimous backing was a statement celebrating Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff support on the Malvinas question.
President Roussef said Brazil would adopt all necessary measures “to impede the access to Brazilian ports of vessels flying the ‘illegal flag of the Malvinas Islands’”.
In this case the initiative was also supported by the Defence Commission.
Reported on 5th October 2011:
“UK will protect the Falklands as long as they want to remain British” says Defence chief Fox Britain will protect the people of the disputed Falkland Islands for as long as they want to remain British citizens, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said on Wednesday speaking at the annual conference of the ruling Conservative Party.
Fox also paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher who led Britain during a 10-week war after Argentina invaded the South Atlantic islands in 1982.
“Next year is the 30th anniversary of the victory for self-determination in the Falklands,” Fox told delegates.
“A victory made possible by the resolve another Conservative prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. And we will continue to guarantee the security of the Falklands,” added Fox, a darling of the right of the party.
Argentina, with the support of Latin American countries and United Nations resolutions continues to reiterate its claim to sovereignty over the Falklands and other South Atlantic Islands demanding the resumption of discussions for a peaceful settlement of the dispute.
However diplomatic tensions over the Falklands have increased in recent years over offshore oil exploration and particularly this year when Argentina is holding presidential and congressional elections.
British oil group Rockhopper Exploration Plc last month unveiled plans for a 2 billion dollars investment in the Falklands, seeking to transform the remote territory into a major oil production centre.
Since the Kirchner couple were elected to office in 2003, 2007 and most probably again this month, they have pursued a policy of isolating the Falklands by limiting air charters, rejecting fisheries and oil agreements, demanding all vessels sailing to the Islands check with the Argentine Coast Guard, banning companies doing business on both sides of the South Atlantic and the latest was a warning by President Cristina Kirchner before the UN General Assembly threatening to cut the only air link with the continent.
Argentina insists UK must abide by UN and other regional organizations resolutions to renew sovereignty discussions and end unilateral initiatives such as a reviewed fisheries policy and the round of oil exploration.
Nevertheless the UK policy has been to call for closer ties with Argentina (co-member of G20, among other institutions), a statement Fox reiterated in his speech to the Tory conference.
“This is not the 1980s. We are now working towards healthier relations with the Argentines,” Fox said.
“But one thing is unchanged: for as long as the people of the Falklands choose to, they are, and always will be, British,” he added
Falklands invasion was plotted 'months earlier than thought'
Argentina's 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands was already being plotted the previous year before General Leopoldo Galtieri even became president, according to a new book.
By Robin Yapp, Sao Paulo 12 October 2011.
Admiral Jorge Isaac Anaya, the then head of the Argentine Navy, is said to have begun outlining the case for military action in December 1981 in the days leading up to Galtieri taking power.
Argentina's ruling military junta was in danger of losing its grip on the country and Anaya told allies the Falklands offered the only hope of bringing "cohesion to society", according to Juan B Yoffre, a former Argentine intelligence chief.
Yoffre writes in his new book, titled '1982', that Anaya was so set on an invasion that he dismissed warnings from allies that "Margaret Thatcher won't let herself be bullied".
The book discloses that Anaya met with the Argentine ambassador in Peru, retired Admiral Luis Pedro Sanchez Moreno, on December 19 1981 in Buenos Aires.
The ambassador began talking about Peru but Anaya interrupted to tell him: "The process [military government in Argentina] is rapidly deteriorating and we must find an element that brings cohesion to society and the country.
That element is Malvinas [the Argentine name for the Falklands]."
Sanchez Moreno replied: "I know the English as much as you do. Margaret Thatcher won't let herself be bullied by a military government. English are like bulldogs, when they bite on to their catch, they won't let it go."
Anaya then stood up and announced that the meeting was over.
On December 22 Galtieri was sworn in as Argentine president and the following day a message headed 'Secret' was sent to Rear Admiral Juan Jose Lombardo with instructions to "personally begin to elaborate and to deliver in hand, an update plan for the recovery of the Malvinas Islands".
Argentina invaded in April 1982 but British forces won the Falklands back in a ten-week war. The following year the Argentine junta relinquished power.