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article imageArgentina ditches talks in latest Falklands row

By Eileen Kersey     Feb 1, 2013 in Politics
London - The Argentinian Foreign Secretary, Hector Timerman, was due to meet British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London and discuss the Falkland Islands. He has now ditched those plans due to the latest spat.
Mr Hector Timerman, will visit the UK between February 4 and 6. The Argentinian Embassy asked the British Foreign Office if he could meet with UK foreign secretary William Hague during his visit. This was agreed and scheduled for next week.
The FCO said, "In accepting such a request for a meeting at foreign minister level, we informed the Argentine Embassy that the foreign secretary wished to raise issues and concerns about the Falkland Islands with Mr Timerman personally and that he had invited political representatives of the Falkland Islands government to attend the meeting."
This meeting between Hector Timerman and William Hague has now been cancelled. William Hague invited two representatives, Dick Sawle and Jan Cheek, of the Falkland Islands government to attend the meeting. When Mr Timerman was told of this turn of events, he promptly said he would not be taking part.
The British Foreign Office is now considering a response.
The sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is disputed. In 1982 the UK and Argentina fought a brief, but bloody war, when Argentina invaded the Falklands. Situated many miles from the UK, the Islands sit relatively close to Argentina. The islands, called the Malvinas Islands by Argentinians, are historically British.
In March the people of the Falklands are due to vote in a referendum. This will determine whether locals want to remain under British sovereign rule.
The Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly issued a statement after Hague offered the invitation, saying that they would not be negotiating a deal. The BBC reports, that in a statement, the assembly said,
We look forward to giving Mr Timerman some very direct messages on the unacceptability of Argentina's actions against the Falkland Islands in recent years.
We demand that our rights be respected, and that we be left in peace to choose our own future and to develop our country for our children and generations to come. It is only right that he should hear this directly from us, as well as from Mr Hague.
Argentina does not recognise the Falklands Islands government. SkyNews reports Mr Timerman saying that he was sorry Mr Hague, "can't meet without the supervision of the colonists from the Malvinas". He went on to invite Hague to meet with him in Buenos Aires where, "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".
The UK stance remains that it is up to the people of the Falklands to determine their sovereignty. Support for the UK in the Falkland Islands outstrips any shown toward Argentina.
This latest 'tiff' is one in a long line of 'tit for tat' diplomatic measures. In late 2012 Argentina's president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner took out a series of adverts in British newspapers accusing the UK of stripping the Malvinas from Argentina in "a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism".
The Falkland Islands have been under French, British and Spanish rule at various times during the last 250 years, before finally 'becoming British' in 1833.
Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges once said, "The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb". Would you agree?
More about Falklands, Falkland Islands, british sovereignty, the malvinas, british foreign secretary
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