The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, met with Argentine Foreign Minister, Héctor Timerman, in New York on Friday 10th February 2012 to discuss the situation in the Falkland Islands, otherwise known as the Malvinas.
The diplomatic language between the Argentinians and British, who both claim sovereignty over the islands, has been increasingly aggressive of late. The 30th anniversary of the start of the 1982 conflict between the two countries will fall on 2nd April. The UK government ratcheted up the tension by sending the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, to the islands on deployment as part of his Search & Rescue position with the RAF. British flags were burnt in response in Argentina.
On 8th February 2012, the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, issued a very firm statement on the UK government’s position:
“The people of the Falkland Islands are British out of choice. They are free to determine their own future, and there will be no negotiations with Argentina on sovereignty unless the Islanders wish it.
“We are not militarising the South Atlantic. Our defensive posture in the Falklands remains unchanged, though we remain firmly committed to the defence and security of the Falklands.
“UN action is a matter for Argentina. The Falklands is already discussed annually in the C24 Committee. The UK has no doubt about our sovereignty over the Falklands, and the principle of self-determination, as set out in the UN Charter, underlies our position.”
The UN has encouraged the two sides to engage in dialogue over the issue which concerns a collection of islands just 290 miles East of Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean. Around 3,000 people of British nationality currently live on the islands. Rockhopper Exploration has made three oil discoveries and three gas discoveries after exploratory drilling in the North Falkland Basin with extraction expected to begin with the next five years.