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Argentina: Falklands Islanders 'Don't Exist'
Argentina has escalated the row over the Falklands by claiming its people do not exist as a nation and are just British citizens living on disputed land.
Foreign minister Hector Timerman continued his war of words with Britain after declaring on Tuesday that Argentina would control the islands within 20 years.
On a visit to London, Mr Timerman claimed the United Nations only acknowledges two parties to the sovereignty dispute - the UK and Argentina.
He told a news conference: "The Falklands islanders do not exist. What exists is British citizens who live in the Islas Malvinas.
"The United Nations does not recognise a third party in the conflict. It says there are just two parts - the UK and Argentina."
Mr Timerman also expanded on his decision to withdraw from talks with William Hague after the Foreign Secretary insisted islanders should also be represented.
He blamed Mr Hague for issuing an "ultimatum" and invited him to travel to Argentina instead for a meeting without conditions.
"In an act of courtesy I offered a meeting to Foreign Secretary William Hague so we could discuss bilateral topics and multilateral issues like the UN Security Council," he said.
"The attempt to impose a condition and an ultimatum made me reject the possibility of a meeting.
"With that attitude, he prevented us from meeting to discuss all the issues relevant to the bilateral relationship."
Falkland islanders who had travelled to London criticised Mr Timerman's refusal to attend the meeting with them and Mr Hague.
Jan Cheek, representing the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, said: "We are disappointed, but hardly surprised. Argentina prefers to disregard our existence, rather than engage constructively with the people who have lived on the Falkland Islands for so many generations.
"We know that the Argentine Government is deeply worried about our referendum, which is why they spend so much time dismissing it."
Mr Hague said it was a "shame" the Argentine foreign minister had not attended the meeting and pledged the British Government's full support for the referendum.
Mr Timerman insisted Argentina was not seeking the UK's "surrender" but wanted to start a dialogue so that the dispute could be resolved peacefully.
"There are very few inhabitants of the Islas Malvinas who were born in the Islas Malvinas but for us, they are Argentinian citizens," he said.
"As Argentinian citizens, they have all the social, civil, economic, political rights as any Argentinian citizens born in continental Argentina."
He added: "The UN is very clear when it says that self-determination is only for native peoples and not for implanted populations."
Mr Timerman has already said Argentina will ignore the results of the referendum in March, in which the islanders will vote on their future.
But Mr Hague countered that Britain believed it was up to them to decide.
"The Falkland Islands is a self-governing British Overseas Territory and a thriving democracy with a growing economy," he said in a statement.
"Through nine generations the people of the Falklands have worked tirelessly to establish their position in the world and their voice deserves to be heard."
Mr Timerman has compared the UK's approach to the islands to Israeli settlement building on the West Bank and called the British "fanatics" for refusing to budge.
what do you think?
Think he should go to Falklands and say that to their faces
This mans words are very telling, "We will 'control' the Malvinas in 20 years"! While all along we are advocating the wishes of the people that actually live there, free to live as they please!
The Argentine goverment seems have a penchant for making people non existent. In Argentina they are called " the disappeared " - murdered by the junta in their hundreds
Well expressed. Need to keep a serious watch on them. Any provocation we should put the strongest possible sanctions, economic and military on them until competent authorities are permitted into the country to monitor their human rights.
Excellent point Ian. No wonder the Faklanders want nothing to do with them............
As opposed to the original indiginous tribal inhabitants of the area of South America, called Argentina who were exterminated by the Spanish colonial settlers and definately don't exist.
The simple fact of the matter is that colonisation is effectively a non term. How can colonisation be a real thing when it is not defined by a period of time? If it is not defined by a period of time then how can you clame one thing is a colony and another isn't? As it is you could legitimately argue there are no colonies, but with equal weight you could argue that the whole world is a colony of Africa. It would have to be a very slim time band for Argentina to claim the Falklands are a colony, but Argentina itself isn't. As part of that weren't the Falklands part of British Territory before Argentina gained independance?
Way things are going with cuts to out armed forces they'll be able to just walk in this time and we won't have anyone to put up a fight. And as for us only wanting them for the oil don't think anyone knew until recent times which is why they want them back
shirley we got a secret weapon - I hope
True our forces have been cut back but the kit that they have is modern and high spec. The argentinians are still using the same equipment that they had in the 80s. infact their airforce still uses fighter aircraft from the 1970's so we have that advantage
Hector Timerman could start a war without even trying - give him a bottle of hair restorer and send him home
Where is his real home ?, Germany ?
Its not just the falklands at issue here but also the claims to the antartic.which will be rich in resources in future.argentinas claims overlap those of the british as well as the chileans.the falklands being in a very strategic position.
Maybe spain should go and reclaim argentina, see how they like it!
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If you look at the surnames of some of the past and present Argentine Government Officials there is a good sprinkling of German names. There are at least three "Kirchners", a "Meyer" and a couple of "Timermans". Now, many thousands of German war criminals escaped to Argentina with their loot toward the end of WW2 and some were given jobs in the Argentine Government by the then President. I am beginning to wonder whether all this Falklands business is just a case of "Hitler's Revenge". Will they never learn ?.
Don't forget those other two outstanding Argentinian citizens of days gone by, Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann.................
OK then Mr Timerman, we see your point. You stop referring to all the Spanish and Portuguese migrants and descendants on South American land that you took from the original inhabitants as "Argentinians" and we will accept your point that the Falkland Islanders are just Britain's who happen to be squatting on the Falkland Isles. How's that? What a stupid argument for a Minister of State to come up with! Most of the occupants of the USA are squatters, by his standards, as are Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and Brazilians!. One cannot in the modern world keep harking back hundreds of years and wanting to change history! That is just wistful childishness.
Ironic that British investment and expertise built the Argentinian railway network and kick started their the Beef industry in the 19th century. Wealth which they have misused and sqandered ever since. Now they want to offer the Falklanders the benefits of Argentinian citizenship, including hyper inflation, so they can use the oil wealth to dig themselves out of a finacial hole.
Argentina's government wouldn't be having a few home problems would they? It seems that whatever government is in power in that country they always trot out the 'Falklands/Malvinas' horse whenever they need to swing the spotlight away from them.
Mt Timerman says, "As Argentinian citizens, they have all the social, civil, economic, political rights as any Argentinian citizens born in continental Argentina.". Now there's a temptation for the Falklanders, how can they resist an offer like that??............ He's got to be joking, their country is in a worse state than ours...............