Malvinas/ Falklands: Dialogue, not Militarization

The UN Special Committee on Decolonization is meeting this week at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Committee - known as C-24- consists of representatives of 29 countries and addresses the situation of 17 dependent territories, including Gibraltar and the Malvinas/Falklands Islands, two matters of importance to Spain and Argentina, respectively.

In terms of the Malvinas/Falklands Islands, which are under British administration, is particularly interesting this year for several reasons.

Firstly, key Resolution 2065 of the United Nations turns 50 this year. This resolution provides crucial elements to the Argentine claim. To begin with, Malvinas/Falklands is one form of colonialism which must be stopped. In addition, it takes note of the existence of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Finally, invites the two countries to begin negotiations to find a "peaceful solution to the problem and report to the Special Committee or the General Assembly" the results thereof.

Of course: negotiations should be conducted taking into consideration the objectives and provisions of the UN Charter, of Resolution 1514 - on the principle of territorial integrity- and the interests of the population of the islands. With respect to the latter, let me recall that the Malvinas were occupied in 1833 by British Forces, which expelled the local population and did not allow them to return, therefore breaking the territorial integrity of Argentina.

Likewise, those who live in the islands possess British characteristics and way of life, and have not been "subjugated by a colonial power." Consequently, the principle of "self determination" invoked by the British does not apply.

Regarding the progress of the negotiations, I believe nothing seems to indicate that the two countries will sit down to negotiate in the short term. Argentina has launched a campaign seeking- and as well as receiving- support in different regions of the world, taking this year under her arm not only resolutions and declarations, but also petitioners, descendants of those who were expelled. The United Kingdom holds a constant job lobbying on numerous levels- including scientific- , bringing petitioners who will argue that the principle of self-determination should be applied in full.

Finally, British newspapers are reporting on a growing militarization in the South Atlantic, before the possibility of an Argentine aggression. These same media have accused Argentina of having purchased military equipment from Russia and China. Defense experts in Buenos Aires have strongly denied that Argentina has bought any equipment and recalled the country's commitment to peace. In addition, they argued that the British announcement is part of the lobby campaign carried out by some groups in the United Kingdom who are very concerned of the recent budget cut by Prime Minister Cameron.

In any event- and even if that announcement is part of a domestic rumble between the government and some sectors in the UK- the growing militarization in the South Atlantic is very concerning.

Eventually, both States will have to sit down and negotiate: this situation can not remain ad eternum, especially while the Question of the Malvinas/Falklands remains as a matter of the C-24.