Argentine Foreign Secretary rejects letter from MLA Sawle
A further attempt by the Falkland Islands Government to engage in dialogue with Argentine Foreign Secretary Hector Timerman on matters of mutual benefit was once again dismissed.
Falkland Islands Assembly Members Dick Sawle and Jan Cheek travelled to London in order to take part in any discussions about the Falkland Islands during Mr Timerman’s proposed meeting with the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.
MLA Sawle approached Mr Timerman as he left a meeting with the All Party Parliamentary Group, introduced himself, and offered a letter and a copy of the newly published booklet ‘Our Islands Our History’ which were refused by Mr Timerman.
The letter expressed MLA Sawle and Cheek’s disappointment not to be meeting with Mr Timerman, saying: “Your Government says that all it wishes to do is talk. Yet when the opportunity arises, you refuse.”
The letter, which is to be delivered to the Argentine Embassy in London also stated:
“There is no reason to be afraid of sitting down with Falkland Islanders. Previous Argentine Governments have done so. In the twenty-first century democracies like ours should be able to discuss our differences in a reasonable and constructive way. The Falkland Islands people have never sought conflict or confrontation with Argentina. On the contrary, we favour cooperation and peaceful co-existence. There are many important issues that we can both usefully address together.”
Sadly this refusal comes as no surprise to the Falkland Islands Government, as this is not the first time our attempts at dialogue have been ignored. In June 2012, at the United Nations in New York, President Fernandez de Kirchner was offered a letter asking her to meet with Assembly Members to hear their views and to discuss matters of common interest. Regrettably, she refused to accept it. The letter was subsequently delivered to the Argentine Government, however the Falkland Islands Government has never received a response.
Our desire for normal neighbourly relations is nothing new, but this most recent refusal of the Argentine Government to recognise our people or our rights once again demonstrates how one-sided this desire is.
Honourable Gavin Short
Member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly
Full text of letter to the Argentine Foreign Minister Mr Timerman from The Hon Dick Sawle MLA
Dear Mr. Timerman,
The Hon Jan Cheek MLA and I are disappointed not to be meeting with you in London, as we had offered. Your Government says that all it wishes to do is to talk. Yet when the opportunity arises, you refuse.
There is no reason to be afraid of sitting down with Falkland Islanders. Previous Argentine Governments have done so. In the twenty-first century democracies like ours should be able to discuss our differences in a reasonable and constructive way. The Falkland Islands people have never sought conflict or confrontation with Argentina. On the contrary, we favour cooperation and peaceful co-existence. There are many important issues that we can both usefully address together.
Falkland Islanders can trace their heritage back through nine generations. Though we value our links to the United Kingdom, we are our own community, free to determine our political future.
We believe that the referendum next month will make it very clear that we do not wish to be ruled by Argentina. Please understand that no amount of harassment and intimidation by your Government against our Island community will change this fact. Indeed, the more you press us, the harder will be our resolve. It is not tenable for you to ignore us.
We know that Argentina has an uncompromising narrative on the history of our Islands. It is not a history that we recognise, or which we believe is substantiated by the archives of our respective governments. I am enclosing a new publication that our Government has just produced, explaining the history of the Falkland Islands from the people who call it their home. I hope you find time to read it; we are publishing a Spanish version in the next few weeks.
We ask you again to reconsider your refusal to speak with us. We remain happy to meet with you at your convenience.
The Hon Dick Sawle MLA