Falklands row reignited as Argentina’s UK ambassador ‘welcomes’ Malvinas name

The Argentinian ambassador to the UK fuelled the row on the Falkland Islands reignited by the European Union earlier this month.

Days after Brussels’ major blunder on the use of the Argentinian name of the Falklands in an official document, Javier Figueroa expressed his satisfaction at seeing the British overseas territory being discussed during a major summit, as it brought back under the international spotlight Buenos Aires’ sovereignty claim.

During a radio interview, the diplomat also welcomed the use in the joint EU-American text of the name used by Argentinians to refer to the British overseas territory.

Further loading with importance the EU name blunder, he claimed the text agreed by leaders of EU nations and South American and Caribbean countries (CELAC) not only addresses the existence of a territorial dispute with the UK over the Falklands but also refers to the principles of disciplining relations and conflicts between states.

Appearing on Argentina’s radio station Splendid 990, Mr Figueroa said maintaining visibility on the issue was important to bring back London to the negotiating table regarding the South Atlantic archipelago.

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The matter of the Falklands’ sovereignty has been widely considered closed in the UK following the end of the 1982 conflict.

In 2013, the vast majority of the Falklanders themselves said they wanted to remain a British overseas territory in a referendum.

The diplomat referred to a joint declaration signed by CELAC and EU leaders in mid-July.

41 years after the end of the Falklands War, the EU seemingly endorsed the use of the name Islas Malvinas as it used it alongside “Falkland Islands” in a deal signed at the end of the two-day meeting between its 27 leaders and the 33 Latin American and Caribbean heads of state.

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Argentina, who never let go of its dream to annex the Falklands, called the political text as a “diplomatic triumph” in the immediate aftermath of the summit, while British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak criticised Brussels for its “regrettable choice of words”.

His spokesman stressed the Falklands “are British” and highlighted how Brussels backed down hours after the UK had woken up to the news of the text.

He added: “The concern is any suggestion that EU states would recognise Argentina’s claims on the Falklands, which they have now clarified is incorrect.”

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And indeed, the Argentinian foreign minister, Santiago Cafiero, has since said he hopes to use the summit declaration as a precedent to “expand dialogue with the EU regarding the question of the Malvinas Islands”.

Peter Stano, the EU spokesman, stressed after the summit the 27 nations haven’t changed their views and positions concerning the Falklands.

He added: “The EU is not in a situation to express any position on the Falklands/Islas Malvinas, as there is not any council discussion on this matter.”

The statement signed by CELAC and EU leaders read: “Regarding the question of sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands, the European Union took note of Celac’s historical position based on the importance of dialogue and respect for international law in the peaceful solution of disputes.”

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