Falklands: Alberto Fernandez says the UK is ‘ignoring’ Argentina
Andrew Rosindell, Tory MP for Romford, said the occasion of Margaret Thatcher Day, on January 10, should have served as a timely reminder to Buenos Aires of what happened the last time they tried to seize the chain of islands which Argentina calls the Malvinas. Tory Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher dispatched a task force to liberate the British Overseas Territory after Argentinian forces staged an invasion on April 2, 1982, under orders from the country’s then-leader, military junta General Leopoldo Galtieri.
After a three-month war in which almost 1,000 British and Argentinian servicemen died, commander of the Argentine garrison in Stanley, Brigade General Mario Menendez, surrendered to Major General Jeremy Moore on June 14.
However, Argentina has never relinquished its claim, with President Alberto Fernandez accusing Britain of “usurping” the islands and appealing for the United Nations to intervene.
Earlier this week, Guillermo Carmona, Argentina’s Secretary for the Malvinas, railed against what he called Britain’s policy of “colonisation”.
However, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has given no indication any shift in policy towards the Falklands is on the cards.
Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, has given no indication of a policy shift towards the Falklands
Alberto Fernandez speaks to the UN via videolink in 2020
Mr Rosindell, who is the chairman of the British Overseas Territories All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), told the Daily Express Margaret Thatcher Day marked the 39th anniversary of her visit to the South Atlantic, six months after the victory and the re-taking of the Falklands’ capital, Stanley.
He said: “The United Kingdom has a long and proud tradition of protecting its citizens.
“Mrs Thatcher demonstrated to the world that there was no question of giving up sovereignty of the Falklands, they are British.”
Argentina’s “illegal occupation” of the Falklands had been “rightly repelled by the forces of the Crown”, Mr Rosindell pointed out.
Andrew Rosindell is the Tory MP for Romford
I hope that the Argentine government will learn the lessons of history
He added: “I hope that the Argentine government will learn the lessons of history – the democratic right to self-determination must always be upheld.
“The United Kingdom will always uphold this right, and as those alive in 1982 will remember.”
Mr Fernandez last year used a speech during the pandemic to talk about Argentina’s claim to the islands, a move which Mr Rosindell condemned as “tiresome, tedious politics” and “a nationalistic distraction from the issues his country faces”.
He added: “The Argentinian government must respect the sovereignty of the Islands, and would do well to refrain from making inflammatory comments which serve to ignite tensions.”
Margaret Thatcher – and husband Denis – pictured in the Falklands in 1983
A road sign in honour of Margaret Thatcher in the Falkland Islands Margaret
With respect to the Falkland Islands itself, and its population of almost 3,000, Mr Rosindell pointed out it, as well as South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, have been under the British Crown since 1832.
He said: “The people of the Falklands Islands have made it clear through a democratic referendum that they wish to retain their British sovereignty.
“The status of the Falkland Islands is up to the people of the Falkland Islands and the islanders have been unequivocal in their desire to remain part of the British family.”
In 2013, on a turnout of 92 percent, just three people voted against remaining as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.
In that referendum, 99.8 percent of people voted to stay British, Mr Rosindell said.
He said: “Any Argentine claims to the islands are without validity and there can never be shared sovereignty of the Islands. They must be solely British, in line with the views of the islanders.
“The Falkland Islanders are proud of their British heritage and roots, they are a deeply patriotic population who love their country and are loyal to Her Majesty The Queen.
“They have no wish to fall under the control of Argentina and Britain will uphold the wishes of the people of the islands. Buenos Aires must get used to this fact and give up its claims.”
Guillermo Carmona lashed out at the UK earlier this month
As well as the 40th anniversary of the war, 2022 also marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Mr Rosindell stressed.
He said: “I hope this will be a year of great celebration for the United Kingdom and all of the British Overseas Territories, which are and always should remain part of our great British family.
“In the words of Mrs Thatcher: ‘The people of the Falkland Islands, like the people of the United Kingdom, are an island race.
“They are few in number but they deserve the right to live in peace, to choose their way of life and their own allegiance. Their way of life is British and their allegiance is to the Crown.’”