Response to comments by President de Kirchner on air-links to the Falklands
It is hard to comment on a speech that was quite unclear. Neither we, nor the British Government, have had any approaches from Argentina on this. What is clear though is the context in which these remarks were made: it is against a backdrop of Argentine aggression and attempts to isolate the Falkland Islands economically. They have banned our vessels from their ports, stopped fishing companies from holding interests in both the Falklands and Argentina, and just this week turned away cruise vessels for having visited the Falkland Islands. It is therefore very difficult not to be sceptical of any proposal that would in effect give Argentina control over access to our home. If President de Kirchner is serious about wanting to develop air links with the Falklands, I hope Argentina will sit down with us and end their ban on charter flights to the Islands, and the restriction that limits the air link with Chile to one flight a week.
The Argentine Government claims to want to negotiate the 1999 Agreement. There were many aspects to this agreement, which aimed to promote co-operation in areas such as fish stocks and mineral resources, and saw the resumption of flights from South America. Whilst we have upheld our side of the bargain, the Argentine Government has systematically reneged on each of its commitments. All that is left now from that original agreement are the flights from South America “ which Argentina now wishes to revisit. Negotiations must start from a position of trust, and it is hard to trust a Government who so easily break their word, and who deny our right to exist as a people.
Hon. Roger Edwards, Member of the Legislative Assembly