Falklands: Former Argentine senator calls for fresh talks with UK
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Earlier this month, Spain weighed into the row over the Falklands Islands, with four former Prime Ministers calling for fresh talks between Argentina and the UK. They called on the two countries to find “a prompt solution to the sovereignty dispute” over the territory. Samuel Arnold-Parra – an analyst at Global Risk Insights specialising in Latin America – told Express.co.uk that Spain’s interference on the issue is likely to do with the country’s “interest in Gibraltar”.
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory that shares a land border with Spain, located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.
Mr Arnold-Parra compared the dispute over the Falklands with that of Gibraltar, noting that “similar arguments” can be made for Spain and Argentina’s claim over the two territories.
Spain is likely promoting Argentina’s claim over the Falklands as it would “naturally” give them a “stronger claim towards Gibraltar”, he told Express.co.uk.
He said: “I think the Spanish stance is quite supportive of Argentina.
“I believe the reason for that is to do with Spain’s interest in Gibraltar.
“Because naturally similar arguments can be made where Spain lost Gibraltar in a military conflict in the 18th century.
“Argentina’s claim to the Falklands also goes back a long time, and the Falklands War was Argentina’s attempt to assert their claim over the Falklands.
“So they’re basically in a situation where Spain would support Argentina’s claim on the Falklands because it’s in Spain’s interests in being able to argue in favour of its right to Gibraltar.
“As they are in the same scenario, hypothetically, were the Falklands issue to go to the International Court of Justice and there was a ruling that decided in favour of Argentina – Spain would then naturally have a stronger claim towards Gibraltar.”
Speaking in favour of renewed dialogue between the UK and Argentina earlier in January, the coalition of former Spanish politicians said: “The members of this Dialogue Support Group have expressed their strong commitment to international law and the peaceful resolution of differences between States.
“We reaffirm the need for the governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to resume, as soon as possible, negotiations aimed at finding a prompt solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.
“In this regard, we highlight the successive resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly urging the Secretary-General to make good offices efforts to resume negotiations with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the dispute as soon as possible.”
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The Spanish political figures – Felipe González, José María Aznar, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy – are part of a newly formed group to support dialogue between the two countries.
But a statement released by the Argentine Embassy in Madrid said that the group was formed “in line with the support that Spain has historically given to dialogue as a mechanism for resolving the sovereignty conflict”.
Their intervention on the issue came after London and Buenos Aires clashed again on the anniversary of the war between the two nations.
Speaking at the Falklands 40 Margaret Thatcher Day Lecture, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace issued a warning over the Falklands, saying that “our enemies should not doubt Britain’s determination to stand up to bullies”.
He added: “Distance will not deter Britain, nor will the scale of the challenge.
“History is littered with the consequences of those that underestimated this small island.”
In response, Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected what they called “belligerent threats” and “denigrating references to Argentina”.
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