Argentina demands talks with Britain over Falklands | News | DW | 15.06.2012
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Argentina demands talks with Britain over Falklands

Thirty years after the end of the Falklands war, Argentina's president has called for talks with Britain over the future of the islands. Cristina Fernandez reasserted that they are Argentine territory.

On the 30th anniversary of Britain's victory in the 1982 Falklands war, President Cristina Fernadez appeared at the annual meeting of the little-known UN Decolonization Committee on Thursday, where she challenged Britain to discuss the future of the island.

She told the committee the fact the islands remain under British rule and not part of Argentina is "an affront to the world which we all dream of."

"How can it be part of British territory when it's 14,000 kilometers (8,700 miles) away?" she asked in an almost hour-long speech.

Fernandez accused Britain of abusing its position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. But she said, "We do not want more deaths, we do not want more wars."

Earlier Fernandez met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who reiterated his offer to mediate in the dispute if both parties were willing to engage, his press office said.

Britain rebuffs talks proposal

Britain has repeatedly refused Argentina's calls to negotiate the islands' sovereignty, saying it's up to the islanders to decide. It argues that the island's 3,000 residents have expressed a desire to remain British. Yet Argentina maintains that the residents do not have the unilateral right to decide.

Speaking in London on Thursday British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that London was "ready and willing" to defend the Falkland Islands.

He accused the Argentine government of "aggression," adding that there would be "absolutely no negotiation" over sovereignty.

Argentina maintains that Britain has illegally occupied the islands since 1833. The dispute came to a head in 1982 when Argentina briefly occupied the remote South Atlantic islands, prompting a ten-week war. Some 255 British soldiers and an estimated 650 Argentineans died in the conflict over the islands, which are known in Spanish as the Malvinas.

Both countries held commemorations on Thursday to mark the end of the conflict.

ccp/jlw (AFP, AP, Reuters)