Tag Archive | "Malvinas"

Argentina News Roundup: 11th April 2014

Héctor Timerman at the Casa Rosada (Photo: Presidencia/Télam/cf)

Héctor Timerman at the Casa Rosada (Photo: Presidencia/Télam/cf)

Argentina Denounces British Military Manoeuvres on Falklands/Malvinas: In a press conference today, Foreign Affairs Minister Héctor Timerman announced that the government lodged a formal complaint against a series of military exercises the British government will carry out on the Falklands/Malvinas islands. According to the minister’s statement, the exercises, which “include the launching of missiles” from the islands, are part of a series of “provocations and hostile actions towards Argentina by an extra-continental nuclear power.” Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Eduardo Zuain summoned the British ambassador to hand him a complaint letter, and the Ministry advised international bodies, such as the UN, Unasur, Mercosur, and OAS, among others, of this perceived hostility. The British government has so far not commented.

Mixed Reactions to General Strike: Government officials and union leaders have given different views over the impact of yesterday’s national strike. Hugo Moyano, leader of the opposition faction of the CGT umbrella union claimed that over 90% of workers adhered to the strike saying it showed “the anger and disappointment that the public feel over the lack of answers from the government.” The government, however, said the impact of the strike was amplified by a lack of public transport and dozens of roadblocks. This morning, Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich again criticised Moyano and Luis Barrionuevo, head of the CGT Azul y Blanco union for leading the strike. “The same union leaders that were allies and benefitted from [wage] increases with this government, are now the ones that criticise it,” said Capitanich. Labour Minister Carlos Tomada later added in a radio interview that Moyano and Barrionuevo were “spokespeople for the opposition.” A private study by Orlando Ferrers & Asociados calculated the economic cost of the industrial action at close to US$1bn, with the retail and commercial sectors particularly affected.

Many Still Affected by Flood Damage: Four days after rains devastated much of Argentina, schools around Neuquén remain shut after Monday’s flooding. Many are without clean water, and have overflowing drains, and parts of the roof collapsed in some buildings during the storm. Teachers’ unions showed some parents the conditions of the schools in explaining their decision to remain closed until they are in appropriate sanitary conditions to receive the students. The province’s Ministry of Social Development confirmed it has given out over 4,000 food parcels, 3,000 mattresses and blankets, as well as drinking water and vouchers for gas. They are also supplying construction materials for those affected by the flooding. Neighbouring Río Negro province has also sent drinking water to the isolated communities of Sierra Grande and Arroyo Ventana, after they saw their normal supply of water interrupted during the storms earlier this week. Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires province the Río Luján rose once again, reaching a high point of 4.37m this morning, flooding Luján’s city centre. Around 1,000 people have been displaced as a result of the river breaking its banks, and whilst the water is now receding, provincial officials have warned it will be days before some people are able to return home.

Actor Alfredo Alcón Dies: Acclaimed Argentine actor Alfredo Alcón died this morning, aged 84. Alcón suffered from a respiratory disease for which he had received surgery four months ago. One of the most important actors of his generation, his theatre, film, and television career spanned 59 years and earned him numerous accolades. There will be a wake for him in Congress today at 2pm, and he will be buried in the Chacarita cemetery tomorrow.

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Argentina News Roundup: 3rd April 2014

President Fernández presents the new $50 bill (photo: Presidencia/Télam/dsl)

President Fernández presents the new $50 bill (photo: Presidencia/Télam/dsl)

New Fifty Peso Note Unveiled on Anniversary of Falklands/Malvinas War: In a ceremony at the Casa Rosada yesterday, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner launched a new $50 note featuring a map of the islands to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the start of the war. In the national colours of tones of blue, the note displays a map of the archipelago and a comorant, a typical bird from the Atlantic coast, on one side, and Antonio ‘El Gaucho’ Rivero raising the Argentine flag on the reverse side. Rivero was a gaucho living on the islands who led an 1833 uprising against the settlers, murdering the five leaders along with two others. The note will be legal tender in around six months, and will replace the current bill which features former president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. It is the second new banknote that has been introduced under the current administration – since 2012 all new $100 banknotes feature Eva ‘Evita’ Perón, replacing Julio Argentino Roca. It was the first time a woman had appeared on a banknote in Argentina.

Argentine forces invaded the Falkland/Malvinas Islands on 2nd April 1982 but surrendered after ten weeks of fighting. Over 650 Argentines and 250 British soldiers were killed in the fighting.

Judge Condemns Recent Spate of ‘Vigilante Justice’: Vice president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Judge Elena Highton de Nolasco, said today that the recent cases of vigilante justice “are violent, bloody, mass murder”, and not a proportional response to the “theft of a handbag”. The spate of lynchings, which saw one alleged robber killed by a crowd in Rosario last week, has caused a media frenzy, with some editorials suggesting the response is necessary due to a lack of police and security presence. Highton de Nolasco went on to say “I don’t think this is the result of a lack of justice… There were cases in which the police had caught the thief and people wanted to take him away to be beaten. I don’t know why it is being encouraged as if it were a good thing.” Her statements were backed by a group of magistrates from the province of Buenos Aires, who called the recent cases “summary executions”, and called for peace. The church added its voice to those criticising the violence, Monseñor Jorge Lozano, said today: “If it is vigilante, it is not justice.”

The comments have not stemmed the spate of attacks. Earlier today, an 18-year-old was beaten unconscious in the town of Santa Rosa, Catamarca, after he allegedly stole a woman’s handbag. It is the second such attack in the town in under a week – last week another youth was beaten until paramedics arrived after he fell off his motorbike, apparently fleeing the scene of a robbery.

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Argentine President Makes her Speech at the UN General Assembly

President Fernández speaks before the UN General Assembly (photo: Presidencia/Télam/cf)

President Fernández speaks before the UN General Assembly (photo: Presidencia/Télam/cf)

Yesterday, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner gave her speech at the 68th UN General Assembly. In the main points of her speech the President urged Iran to move forward with the AMIA agreement, highlighted the need to reform the UN Security Council, and heavily criticised vulture funds and the UK’s no-dialogue stance on the Falklands/Malvinas Islands.

Speaking about the AMIA agreement, which was signed by Argentina and Iran in January 2013 in order to move forward with investigations on the 1994 bombing, the President said “I hope [Iran] tells us if they have approved the agreement, when they are going to approve it if they haven’t already, and, furthermore, that we can agree on a date to form a Comission so that the Argentine judge can go to Tehran.”

“We are not afraid of going to Tehran,” she added, stating that the victims of the 1994 terrorist attack deserved a response. She went on to say, however, that having listened to Iranian president Hassan Rohani’s speech, she was optimistic that they would receive a “positive response” on the matter.

The President also used the opportunity to reiterate her desire for the UN Security Council to be reformed, stating that the institution had proven to be outdated, “completely dysfunctional and obsolete.” She cited how the institution had recently dealt with Syria as an example of its inefficiency, but said that this was just one example of many. She also stressed that “the right to veto a decision has become and obstacle” and called for a system of “global law and governance” to be created.

Elaborating on Syria, the President critcised the great powers’ reaction to the situation, saying: “What is the difference between death by firearm and death by chemical weapons?”, and addressing these powers she said: “We had to wait for 1,000 people to die by chemical weapons before we discovered that 150,000 had been killed by fire arms. Maybe the countries that sell weapons can tell us why… There are no fair wars, only peace is fair.”

An important part of the president’s speech was dedicated to the re-negotiation of Argentine debt and the vulture funds dispute, which the United States’ Supreme Court will begin to debate on Monday. She said: “they bought the debt for US$40m and today they want us to pay US$1.7bn. Its a 1,300% increase” and declared that, if this kind of operation is not condemned internationally it will be impossible to find businesses that want to invest in a country to create jobs.

At this moment in her speech the president recalled the former US Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill’s jibe at Argentina in 2001, when he said that US plumbers did not want to pay for Argentine’s parties, saying ‘Today, millions of Argentines who are economically starting to find their feet again do not want to pay for the lobbyists’ parties.”

Finally, President Fernández renewed her claim over the Falkland/Malvinas Islands saying that the United Kingdom was “completely ignoring” the UN resolultions for dialogue between the two countries and expressing her belief that it was ironic that “dialogue” had been mentioned in so any speeches but, in this case, was not put into practice.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (2)

Uruguay: Senator Plays Down Falklands/Malvinas Claim

Disputed Territory (Photo: Rogerio Tomazela on Flickr)

Falklands/Malvinas: Disputed Territory (Photo: Rogerio Tomazela on Flickr)

Senator Constanza Moreira, of the ruling Frente Amplio (FA) party, played down Uruguay’s claim to the Falklands/Malvinas islands, a day after local media cited an internal report calling for research into the possibility of a Uruguayan claim to the islands.

Local media revealed yesterday that Moreira, cited as a potential future presidential candidate, signed a document calling for the investigation into Uruguay’s rightful claim over the Falklands/Malvinas.

The article in El País entitled: “Hypothesis in the FA: Malvinas are Uruguayan” cited an official report calling for an investigation into the subject.

“What was circulated in the media is a journalistic interpretation that differs greatly from the contents expressed in an internal document as part of the many FA programmes,” wrote Moreira in a statement.

The internal report calls for a group of historians, geographers, jurists, diplomats, and politicians to discuss “in depth” the the disputed sovereignty of the Falklands/Malvinas so as to take a “well-founded position”.

The report highlights the Spain-Uruguay treaty of 1841, which ceded control of the islands to the naval base in Montevideo.

However, in disputing the media interpretation of the document, Moreira added: “I want to make clear my complete agreement with Uruguay’s position of support for Argentina’s historic claim over the Malvinas.”

The document has been published ahead of presidential elections in October 2014 in which Senator Moreira is expected to run as a member of the FA.

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President Urges Re-think of UN Security Council

President Fernandez speaking before the UN in New York (photo:Presidencia/Télam/e)

President Fernández speaking before the UN Security Council

While leading the session of the UN Security Council earlier today, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made a call to “revise the functions of UN organisms, in particular the Security Council.”

The president took a stance against the right to veto of the permanent member states, while reiterating the need to negotiate with the United Kingdom over the Falklands/Malvinas.

President Fernández is currently head of the council for the month of August.

In her discussion about the UN itself, she emphasised that the organisation, which was created after the cold war, now needed to adapt to “a new world with a new reality.” Fernández argued that the United States, France, UK, Russia, and China should not necessarily continue to have the right to veto just because they have had it up until now. “The old methods are not going to give solutions [today],“ she said.

“Peace and security are not military concepts. Many believe that peace is only gained through weapons, but I believe that there are multiple examples that show that what really constructs societies are values ​​and ideals.”

Fernández also claimed that, since the UN now reaches its decisions by consensus “there is no need to exercise a veto.” Her request was made in the context of a call to “strengthen” cooperation between regional organisations such as the CELAC, the African Union and the League of Arab States to the United Nations.

Regarding the Falklands/Malvinas the president said her government’s stance is not based on a whim. “We simply want the United Nations resolution to be enforced and for our two countries to sit down and discuss this.”

“One can have different opinions about something that has not been resolved by the UN, but a problem arises when the assembly is not looking at differing views,” she argued.

Fernández added that the Falklands/Malvinas are “only an example”, and affirmed that she did not wish to introduce further controversy to this debate. “These are ideas, I’m not so arrogant as to say they are the absolute truth,” she said.

President Fernández also met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday to discuss the Falklands/Malvinas issue and the recent global espionage scandal.

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President Slammed by British Media For Plea to Pope

CFK bunker, presidential primary

CFK bunker, presidential primary by CateIncBA, on Flickr

The British Media have reacted to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s request for Pope Francis to mediate in the Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty dispute, with many newspapers criticising Argentina’s president.

“Shameless: Argentina president asks for Falklands help from Pope who was once her sworn enemy,” was how the Daily Mail described President’s requests. The article goes on to call her “two-faced” for having “made a fawning plea to Pope Francis over the Falklands.”

The Times stated, “Argentina presses Pope over future of Falklands” after having “officially asked” the Pope “to help launch talks with Britain on the sovereignty of the Falklands.”

The Independent was also not short of an opinion, “Despite having a patchy relationship with the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cristina Kirchner said she asked for his intercession to “facilitate dialogue,” the newspaper wrote.

“Hot-headed” for asking “about the islands despite Falklanders only last week voting 99.8% in favour of staying British,” was the take of The Sun.

Senator Daniel Filmus of Frente para la Victoria (FpV) condemned the British press’ pessimistic reaction by arguing that “it is flippant to criticise the mediation request, because this is a bilateral issue and they refuse to engage in bilateral dialogue.”

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Falklands/Malvinas Islanders Vote for UK Rule

West Point, nas Ilhas Falklands, Malvinas (Photo: Rogerio Tomazela on Flickr)

West Point, Falklands/Malvinas Islands (Photo: Rogerio Tomazela on Flickr)

On Monday night, residents of the Falklands/Malvinas islands held a referendum and voted, by an overwhelming majority of 98.8%, to express their desire to remain a British overseas territory. Only three voters filed a negative ballot, and 92% of Falklands/Malvinas voters participated in the referendum.

The islanders held celebrations following the decisive result, singing ‘Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina’, ‘God Save the Queen’ and Rod Stewart’s ‘I Am Sailing’, as well as flying the UK flag.

The Argentine government did not recognise the referendum, declaring it an illegal meeting. On Friday, a group of senators requested a special congressional hearing to make a declaration against the Falklands/Malvinas vote.

“The referendum this weekend is a new political action of an advertising nature concocted by the UK,” said Daniel Filmus, head of the Foreign Relations Committee. “This publicity stunt has no validity under international law.”

The Argentine government’s refusal to acknowledge the vote, combined with the fact that the outcome was widely expected, will limit the impact of the referendum on the sovereignty debate. However, this is the first time the issue of sovereignty has been put to an official vote by the Falklands/Malvinas inhabitants.

The UK now hopes to convince the US to alter its stance on the issue from neutral to pro-UK behind the argument of self-determination. The Argentine government has rejected the self-determination stance because, it argues, self-determination cannot be used by the islanders because they originally colonised the land.

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Falklands/Malvinas Warship Sinking in Puerto Belgrano

The Argentine navy yesterday reported that the missile destroyer ARA ‘Santísima Trinidad’ which participated in the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas war is leaning to port and in danger of sinking.

On Monday morning, officials found the war ship propped against a fishing boat at its mooring in the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base. A statement said that the vessel “presented a heel to port due to a breakdown in the hull” after “a six inches tear that led to the entrance of a significant amount of water”.

The navy declared that “the situation remains under control, and we’ll work in order to stabilise its buoyancy”.

The ‘Santísima Trinidad’ was branded as being in a stage of “temporary recess” in 2000, before being definitively decommissioned in 2004. After the ship was retired, a small crew remained on board to act as guards and maintain the destroyer.

“Given the volume of water and the limited bail capacity the personnel working on board was sent ashore,” said officials.

In 1982, the ‘Santísima Trinidad’ was involved in the Falklands/Malvinas War. It transported Argentine commandoes that attempted to invade and capture the islands.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, News Round Ups, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (1)

Weekly News Roundup, January 18th.

It’s 2013 Friday again!

Happy new year, by the way, and I hope you missed me these last two weeks, even though I’m sure right now you’re going “There was no Weekly News Roundup for two weeks? Huh. I guess I didn’t notice.”

Well, I don’t care. I didn’t miss you either. I spent the first week of the year doing absolutely nothing, sitting on the beach re-reading The Catcher in the Rye and giggling like an idiot at the Grumpy Cat, the best internet phenomenon to slap the world in the face since “All your bases are belong to us“.

But enough talking about you and your uneventful Punta del Este / home-for-the-holidays anecdotes. Admit it: you’re glad you’re back in Argentina. You missed it like crazy. You missed its chaos, you missed its people, you missed its intoxicating deliriums of grandeur.

And most of all, you missed the sheer ridiculousness of our 24 hours news cycle.

Unless you never left, of course.

In a nutshell, this is what happened in the last two weeks (use this soundtrack for a more sensorial experience).

  • The Qom indigenous community are this close to becoming an endangered species but we still care more about who’s going to be a judge on this season’s Dancing with the Stars.
  • Moral of the story: don’t fuck with the president, loser. She’s like, the female version of Vladimir Putin. You just don’t fuck with her and expect to get away with it. Ever.
  • By the way, regarding that link to “ad hominem“? You’re welcome.

OK. Now that you’re up to speed, welcome back. You can stop the music.

This is what you need to know, although bear in mind it’s January, which is a slow news month:

  • Mar del Plata continues to allure millions of tourists every year for some reason. (Photo/Wikipedia)

    We begin with what will surely be the story of the week, since it’s on the cover of every newspaper in this country today. Remember last year when President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner unveiled those evil-looking dolls that were supposed to represent the League of Extraordinary Bolivarian Liberators but in fact resembled a voodoo doll from a scene of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master? Well step aside, horrible creatures of the underworld! Because there’s a new winner in this twisted Toy Story-esque universe. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new and improved Cristina doll (widow dress and presidential sash included in the set!). Now, before you start going “WTF is that thing?” let me just clarify that it’s a gift from the Argentine Toy Industry Chamber which has had huge returns this year because of import restrictions (fuck Monopoly, play El Estanciero and shut up). Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on to less relevant things, like rampant inflation.

  • DOLLAR BLUE! That angelical way of calling the black market exchange rate of the US dollar in the dark alleys of mysterious Buenos Aires. That dewy sweet deal you procure to seal by getting rid of all your dollars once you return to Argentina from wherever the hell you come from. Yes, kids. The “dollar blue” exchange rate has reached $7.47 pesos today, which is almost 50% more than the official exchange rate, currently at $4.96. So you know… when you’re back, gimme a call so I know how you’re doing and we’ll meet for coffee. Oh, and bring your dollars for no particular reason.
  • Remember the IMF? It’s back! Although not in pog form. No, this time it’s very real and as they prepare to meet on February 1st to discuss what to do with our rogue nation and its elusive ways, we better brace ourselves for what will surely be another harmless statement saying that if Argentina doesn’t change its strategy, the organization will have no choice but to warn us again.
  • And if you didn’t get that “pog form” reference, A) You never watched The Simpsons and B) You suck.
  • While visiting the UAE as part of her “Sex and The City 2” presidential tour, Cristina signed a series of bilateral agreements with the Emirati president Khalifa bin Al Nahayan. Then she met with “the girls” for a couple of appletinis and later met with downfallen football start Diego Maradona – currently an Obi-Wan Kenobi-esque cave dweller in the Abu Dhabi desert after being banished from Argentina –  who regaled her with the crassest flower bouquet humanity has ever witnessed. He also expressed his strong support for her administration, which is like, super easy to do when you’re living in a different country and getting paid in dollars. But stop judging you guys! In fact Diego has always strongly supported whoever was in power, even former president Carlos Menem and his Economy Minister Lex Luthor, both of them architects of the economic measures in the 90s that resulted in a mess that the Kirchners tried to clean up in the 00s. Don’t believe me? Here’s a photo of Maradona…ahem… “resting” during a press conference and wearing a t-shirt that reads “Thank you Mingo”, in reference to Mr. Luthor himself. That’s like praising Obama’s anti-war stance after wearing a “Thank you Cheney” t-shirt.  The Internet NEVER forgets, Maradona.
  • Re: the flower bouquet… noticed the footballs on top? Oh Diego. Never change.
  • The National Government has announced that it intends to enact a federal plan to slowly replace and repair the national railway network.
  • Oh and conveniently, this happened today. So stay away from all trains until things are working at least by North Korean standards.  I mean, nothing to worry about. Just a passenger train that went off the rails but no one died, which means no biggie.
  • Oh, like you never dented another car while parking. Shut up. Look at it, it’s not so bad.
  • Remember when three years ago everyone was crazy about the Dakar Rally because it launched from Buenos Aires, and everyone was like “Oh my God I’ve been following this forever!“, and everyone was like, yelling at the screens and everything, and waving Argentine flags when what’s his face won the quad bike races and all that? Remember how Cristina wore a pink helmet and rode the quad bike and stuff to celebrate? Remember how then the organization behind the rally decided to expand it to other countries and local people were like “Woa…” and then Argentina just became a “passing through” country and everyone was like “meh“? Yeah, well. That’s now. No one cares about it.
  • Also, for reasons that I fail to compute because I truly dislike football,

    Don't give me any of that "friendly" crap. You either kill or get killed. (Photo/Wikipedia)

    there’s a Superclasico coming to Mar del Plata this Saturday which, what do you know, happens to coincide with the busiest season.  Now, I understand that you like the circus. I understand that you don’t care about paying money for a spectacle that we all know is merely put up to exploit your blind fanaticism and rake in the big bucks. But why the bout of euphoria? Seriously. No matter who wins or loses, the result is exactly the same. It’s a friendly superclásico (I know, oxymoron much?), which means there’s no motivation to win beyond the satisfaction of mocking your rivals to the point of killing a couple hooligans outside the stadium but that’s it. It’s WrestleMania with a ball. It’s a gladiator fight in which both contenders survive. And I don’t know about you, but if I lived in ancient Rome I would have liked none of that sissy shit. Either you stab him in the neck or he stabs you but one of you has to die. If not, I want my gold coins back.

  • And since we’re talking Superclásico: dear staff working at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires: I know you read me (oh yes, I know) and you know I love you. I really do. But you see, I hate football. So please let’s make sure THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. In fact, let’s just pretend it never happened. Let’s just pretend that you decided to go with a lame reenactment of Gangnam Style, like this high school did. Sure, the Spartan name will live in infamy forever, a cheap tin plaque with its name on it hanging and gathering dust and cobwebs in the hall of eternal shame. But I’ll take that to football. So seriously. Never again.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Send Adrian your comments, thoughts or tips at adrbono@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @AdrianBono

And don’t forget to like the Weekly News Roundup on Facebook, so we don’t have to keep reminding you about this every Friday.

Posted in Thoughts of a ForeignerComments (0)

Falklands/Malvinas Islands Will Hold a Referendum

The government of Falklands/Malvinas Islands has announced the dates of the referendum in which islanders will be able to express their opinion on the political status of the islands. The referendum will take place on 11th and 12th March “giving everyone the maximum opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

The question published on the official website of Falklands/ Malvinas Islands Government is:

“The current political status of the Falkland Islands is that they are an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.  The Islands are internally self-governing, with the United Kingdom being responsible for matters including defence and foreign affairs.  […]  Given that Argentina is calling for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, this referendum is being undertaken to consult the people regarding their views on the political status of the Falkland Islands.  Should the majority of votes cast be against the current status, the Falkland Islands Government will undertake necessary consultation and preparatory work in order to conduct a further referendum on alternative options.

Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?

YES or NO”

To facilitate the process, the government released an explanatory booklet and is planning to invite credible international missions to observe the process “to clearly demonstrate that it has been held freely and fairly.”

The government of Falklands/Malvinas Islands expressed its intention to hold the referendum on 12th June 2012, which was rejected by Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. She asked the Decolonisation Committee of the United Nations: “Why not do a referendum in Iraq or Afghanistan?”, and demanded national sovereignty over the Falklands/Malvinas Islands.

On 3rd January president Fernández wrote an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, asking the British government to respect the 1965 United Nations General Assembly resolution which calls for a diplomatic resolution to the issue.  The British Foreign Office responded via Twitter: “The people of the Falklands are British and have chosen to be so.”

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, News Round Ups, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (2)

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