Argentina renews demand for talks with Britain on Falklands

Buenos Aires, April 3 (IANS/EFE) Argentine President Cristina Fernandez marked Tuesday’s 31st anniversary of the start of the Falklands War by again demanding that Britain agree to discuss the question of sovereignty over the South Atlantic archipelago known to Latin Americans as the Malvinas.

“Refusing dialogue is incomprehensible,” Fernandez said at a Veterans Day ceremony at Puerto Madryn, 1,300 km south of Buenos Aires.

Argentina will continue “asking unremittingly” that Britain, which has occupied the Falklands since 1833, comply with the 1965 UN resolution describing London’s control of the islands as colonialism and calling on the parties to resolve the dispute through dialogue, Fernandez said.

“We keep asking why they refuse talks with a democratic government,” the Argentine president said.

Fernandez said she does not consider Britain an enemy, adding that “peace and diplomacy” are the only valid ways for Argentina to pursue its complaint.

Argentine troops invaded the Falklands April 2, 1982, at the order of the military junta then in power in Buenos Aires.

Fighting officially began May 1, 1982, with the arrival of a British task force, and ended 45 days later with the surrender of the Argentines.

The conflict claimed nearly 1,000 lives – some 700 Argentines and 255 British soldiers and sailors.

Fernandez recalled Tuesday how the people of Puerto Madryn, a few days after the war ended, received, fed and lodged in their homes the close to 8,000 Argentine soldiers that landed at this city upon returning to the mainland, and whom the military dictatorship governing Argentina at the time attempted to hide.

In her speech, Fernandez made no mention of last month’s referendum in which a majority of Falklands inhabitants voted in favour of maintaining the status of an overseas British territory.

–IANS/EFE

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