Falklands back in our hands in 20 years – Argentine minister
Hector Timerman says the UN is obliged to step in and Buenos Aires will regain the disputed islands
THE ARGENTINE foreign minister has said the Falkland Islands are an "occupied land" and will be back under his nation's control "within 20 years".
Hector Timerman, who is visiting London for the first time to argue his country's case for taking control of the islands, "ruled out" any Argentinian military action in relation to the 130-year-old territorial dispute.
Timerman accused the British government of having a fanatical desire to keep the islands, telling The Guardian: "The United Kingdom has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity to find a solution for the Malvinas".
Timerman has refused to meet Foreign Secretary William Hague during his stay in London because the Foreign Office insists that island representatives should also be at the meeting. The Argentine politician said he was "bewildered" by what he described as Hague's refusal to hold talks, since in the past the British had been "quite willing to talk to a military junta that claimed 35,000 Argentinian lives".
Timerman expects the Falklands to be under Argentine control within 20 years because the "world" had woken up to the fact that Britain's sovereignty over the islands was a "colonial issue" and that the dispute was about the "occupation of a foreign land".
He told the Daily Telegraph that the rights of the 3,000 islanders would be respected by Argentina after a transfer of sovereignty, but insisted his country did not need their consent to resume control. This was a reference, the paper says, to the Falklands government's announcement that it will hold a referendum next month to "affirm allegiance to Britain", a decision that has infuriated Buenos Aires.
The fact the United Nations has acknowledged there is a conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falklands means Whitehall is obliged to negotiate a settlement, Timerman said. "We have to apply international law and accept the resolutions; if not the UN becomes a body that is only useful when it backs the powerful."