Tensions have flared up between Britain and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands. The two countries, which claim ownership of the islands, clashed over the issue at the United Nations on Thursday. Addressing the UN special committee on decolonization, Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman regretted the “intransigence of the United Kingdom” as he repeated his country’s calls for the UK to engage in negotiations over the sovereignty of the archipelago.
Timerman also denounced a referendum held in Malvinas in March as British “propaganda.”Meanwhile, the UN committee passed a non-binding resolution, backed by a number of Latin American states, which calls for a peaceful and negotiated settlement between Argentina and Britain over the islands. However, UK Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant expressed opposition to the resolution, saying, “The committee’s approach is outdated and disconnected from the people it’s supposed to be helping.” On March 10-11, the British inhabitants of the disputed islands participated in what the Argentinean government called an illegal referendum, voting for the islands to remain part of the British overseas territories. Argentina’s Foreign Ministry has accused the UK government of manipulating the dispute and status of the islands through its referendum. Argentina and the UK fought a 74-day-long war in 1982 over the islands. The conflict ended with the British side claiming victory. Located about 480 kilometers (300 miles) off Argentina’s coast and home to about 3,000 inhabitants, the Malvinas Islands have been declared part of the British overseas territories since the UK established its colonial rule on the territories in 1833. MR/HSN