A new monthly direct flight between mainland Argentina and The Falkland/Malvinas Islands will be introduced as part of a new deal on ‘mutual cooperation’ with the UK.
The measure was highlighted in a joint communique that called for increased cooperation in a number of areas, including trade, defense, and development of the South Atlantic islands.
The statement was released today after a visit to Buenos Aires by Sir Alan Duncan, minister of state for Europe and the Americas at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The two countries agreed to take “appropriate measures to remove all obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development of the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, including in trade, fishing, shipping and hydrocarbons.”
The countries agreed to improve air links between the Falkland/Malvinas and countries around the region, which beyond a weekly connection with Chile have been limited by restrictions on travel in Argentine air space. This will include “the establishment of two additional stops per month in mainland Argentina, one in each direction.”
The agreement also includes a joint commitment to reduce restrictions on oil and gas activity and fishing, two of the most important industries in the South Atlantic.
“We want to begin a new era of dialogue to see what opportunities there are to do things together,” said Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister Susana Malcorra.
The call for mutual cooperation will not impact either country’s territorial claim over the islands.
The communique was issued within the framework of the 1989 joint statement, which specifically expresses that no bilateral meetings shall be interpreted as a change in the position of either nation with regard the sovereignty or territorial jurisdiction of the Falklands/Malvinas and other South Atlantic Islands.
“The South Atlantic Dialogue will seek to build cooperation in areas of mutual interest. Of course this will not include the issue of sovereignty,” said Duncan. The UK continues to strongly support the rights of the Falkland Islanders and our position on sovereignty has not changed – there can be no dialogue on this unless the Falkland Islanders so wish.