By Soroor Ahmed (NVONews.Com)
Three decades after Argentina and United Kingdom fought a war over Falkland Islands in 1982 the two countries have got embroiled in a wordy duel over the South Atlantic Ocean islands.
First came a letter, published in the form of advertisement, from Argentine President Ms Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and that too in two premier newspapers of Britain––the Guardian and the Independent––calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to return the Falkland Islands.
She chose January 3, 2013 as it was on this very date in 1833 that Falkland Islands were “forcibly stripped” from Argentina “in a blatant exercise of 19th -century colonialism”.
“Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity,” she wrote.
According to Kirchner the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in 1965 which considered the islands as a case of colonialism and invited Britain and Argentina to hold talks on their disputed claims.
“In the name of the Argentine people, I reiterate our invitation for us to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations,” she wrote.
But the British reaction was quick and as straightforward as ever.
“The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves––the people who live there.” This was how Prime Minister Cameron said hours later.
Referring to the referendum on the islands’ political status, which is to be held in March next he said: “Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom.
“They’re holding a referendum this year and I hope the president of Argentina will listen to that referendum and recognise it is for the Falkland Islanders to choose their future, and as long as they choose to stay with the United Kingdom they have my 100% backing.”
Tensions between the two countries rose last year on the 30th anniversary of the short battle for the control of Falkland, in which 649 Argentine and 255 British soldiers were killed. The British also used Gurkhas in their army in the battle. Argentina, then ruled by the Generals, invaded the island and occupied it for 74 days. The British navy re-captured it after a naval war.
While most Latin Americans and other Third World countries then supported Argentina, the United States and Canada backed the United Kingdom.
Last June Cameron and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner publicly clashed over the Falkland Islands, known as Malvinas in Spanish, at the G-20 Summit in Mexico.
Then once again in a Christmas message to the Falklands, the British prime minister accused Argentina of denying the 3,000 residents the right to choose how they are governed, and of undermining their economy.
But Kirchner’s letter had accuses Britain of expelling the Argentines on the islands when it took control and begining a “population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule”.
She also said that the Falkland issue is “a cause embraced by Latin America and by a vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism”.
Britain, on the other hand, has always been maintaining that it was Spain and Portugal, who colonized the entire Latin America, and that the uninhabited Falkland Islands was in its possession much before Argentina even came into being. So there is no question of stripping them off the Falkland.