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Rory Meakin: Falkland Islanders' opinions on their own future are not worthless, Mr Carmona


Rory Meakin is a Research Associate at the TaxPayers' Alliance. Follow Rory on Twitter.

The Falkland Islands Government has announced an historic referendum on the future of the islands’ sovereignty, which David Cameron welcomed during Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon following a question from Nigel Adams MP about British Government support for World Bank lending to Argentina. Although few are in any doubt that Falklanders will vote overwhelmingly in favour of remaining a British Overseas Territory, the move is expected to help repel attempts by Argentina to colonise the territory, either diplomatically or militarily.

Senior Argentinian politicians, however, are not impressed. Daniel Filmus, chair of the Argentine Senate foreign affairs committee said any referendum would make no difference to its claims on the islands, which rests entirely on a ridiculous interpretation of international law. Argentina’s position: 

"has always been based on the UN resolutions, indicating that sovereignty negotiations must always be resolved through bilateral negotiations with the UK"

Daniel Filmus is not alone in his contempt for self-determination, either. In an interview with Bueno Aires radio Guillermo Carmona, chair of the foreign affairs committee of Argentina’s equivalent of the House of Commons, was scathing about the value of the islanders’ opinions about their future:

"This has no value at all since Argentina rejects the possibility of self-determination"

Mr Carmona went on to say that he did not think the referendum “complied with international law”, with which he must be familiar as Argentina’s record on flouting international law is remarkable. It has more claims in the International Court for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) than any other with the sole exception of neighbouring Venezuela. It has refused to honour the ICSID treaty or allow the IMF to review its public accounts. And it has been assigned to the Financial Action Task Force’s ‘grey list’ of strategic deficiencies in financial systems for anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, while sheltering 86 per cent of its foreign reserves from the international judicial system in Switzerland’s Bank for International Settlements.

Most outrageously of all, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez will today argue for the international community to back her attempts to colonise the islands in, of all places, the UN Committee on Decolonisation. Spectacular doublespeak that would have made George Orwell proud.

So what is the British Government doing to defend British territory and our fellow Britons against these diplomatic assaults? We’re bankrolling Argentina, of course. If you think that funding Argentina while they attack British interests is doubleplus ungood and if you want to tell the Government to put a stop to it, sign our petition and tell anyone else who might agree with you to sign it, too.


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