According to Mercopress, on December 3, 2014, “Argentine opposition lawmakers expressed concern about alleged logistic support from Brazil and Chile to British warships and other auxiliary vessels in the South Atlantic and demanded the government of President Cristina Fernández report to Congress on the matter.”[1]

Lawmaker Juan Carlos Zabalza, who is a member of the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee of Argentine said that “We believe that in the event of British vessels being supported by Chile or Brazil, this is an issue of utmost concern, and Argentina must request explanations from those countries in the framework of Mercosur[2] and Union of South American Nations”.

A short history of the conflict[3]

The Falklands Islands, known also as Islas Malvinas are located in the South Atlantic, at a distance of 435 km east of Patagonian southern coast of South America and 450 km NE from the southern extremity of Tierra del Fuego. The archipelago consists of two main islands, East Falkland, West Falkland and other 776 smaller islands. In 1980 the islands population was about 1813 people, from which about 1000 lived in Port Stanley, the capital. In 2012, the population of archipelago was about 2932 people including the native population of British ancenstry but also French, Gibraltarian and Scandinavian.

From economic point of view, in 1980, the exports of wool and leather towards Great Britain were in value of 2.8 millions of British pounds and the imports (mostly food, lumber, manufactured goods and machinery) were in value of appx 2 million pounds. From 1995 until today, the islands exports grew from 20 millions dollars up to 180 millions at present. Today, the discovery of a big oil reserve, uncovers a new economic potential of the islands.

Regarding the history of the islands, the first documented data are from 1690 and are connected to the English captain John Strong, who in his journey to the shores of Peru and Chile noted the discovery of the islands. It seems that two other earlier maps, one of the Portuguese cartographer Pedro Reinel in 1522 and another, a French copy of this map made in Lisbon by André Thevet (1516-1592), a French franciscan explorer, cosmographer and writer, who travelled to Brazil in the 16th century, contain this islands.[4] The islands were inhabited from 1764 when the French captain Louis Antoine de Bougainville founded Port Louis in East Falkland and in 1776 when the commander of the British ship HMS Jason, John MacBride, founded Port Egmont in Saunders Island, near the coast of West Falkland. In 1770, the Spanish discovered Port Egmont and captured it. Both settlements existed until 1774 when the British retreated voluntarily from economical reasons. Spain will abandon the settlement in 1811, the island remaining uninhabited with the exception of the temporary visits of the Spanish and Americans fishing ships. In 1820, Argentine proclaimed the sovereignty over the territories and in 1833 Great Britain reestablished the control over the territories expelling the Argentines and setting the bases for the first stable population.

Argentine continued to issue territorial claims over the islands and in 1965 UN stated that the territory is “a problematic territory” and requested the presence of both countries in order to negotiate a solution. For 17 years these negotiations have not produced any results. The Argentinean army invaded the islands on April the 2, 1982. The United Kingdom responded and the command of Port Stanley garrison was surrendered on June the 14. 655 Argentinean and 255 British soldiers have died during the fight.

The diplomatic relations were resumed in 1990 but the island status remains an important topic with misunderstandings regarding the flight over the islands and the fishing rights.

The diplomatic situation

In 1965, the dispute between United Kingdom and Argentine got into ONU attention through the approving of the Resolution 2065 in the General  Assembly of UN, inviting both parts to find a peaceful solution. Unfortunately it have not led to any result regarding the problem of the islands’ belonging. United Kingdom considerred that it was an issue of a great importance for Argentina to offer citizenship to the islands citizens in order to reduce the level of isolation and after 3o years they should be invited to choose between the British and Argentinian citizenship, but in order to acomplish this, time and patient were nedeed from Argentine, which rejected the proposal.

In december 1973 it was adopted a UN resolution, 3160, that encouraged the two parts to start the negociations in the interest of islands inhabitants and expressed the gratitude for "the  continuous  efforts  made  by  the  Government  of  Argentina,  in accordance with  the relevant decisions of the General  Assembly,  to facilitate the process of decolonisation and to promote the well-being  of the population of the Islands. It was adopted with  99 in favour, zero against and, as in 1968, 14 abstentions."[5]

The new Junta ruled by the General Leopoldo Galtieri, who took the power on December the 8, 1981, ended the negociations that last over a decade.

The conflict in Crimea brought again into attention the Falkland Islands issue, when the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner acused the United States of America and United Kingdom of double standards “for criticizing a pro-Russian secession vote held in Crimea, while backing a status referendum in the Falkland Islands claimed by Argentina. Critics say her campaign is simply a cynical attempt to divert attention from Argentina's patchy economic performance.”[6]

A major change in the force equilibrium compared to the previous situation is the involvement of Russia. Vladimir Putin supports Argentina in opening the negotiations over the future of Falkland Islands. On July the 14, 2014, in a 6 day visit in Argentine, Vladimir Putin said that Russia sustain “the need to find a solution in the Malvinas Islas dispute between Argentine and the United Kingdom through direct negotiations between the two states.”, despite the fact that Great Britain clarified its position and doesn’t intend to reopen the negotiations regarding the future of the islands. Russia’s interests, besides the possible economical benefits in the oil field of the Islands and contracts with Argentina, are related to the strategically position that can be obtain in the Atlantic Ocean. Russia, a BRICS member, with Brazil, India, China and South Africa, seeks to impose o stronger position after the latest events in Ukraine and the sanctions that were imposed on Russia.  The orientation toward South America comes from the need to exploit a new market, both in investment and imports, to assure a higher level of independence toward the European markets. In this line, the security of the area is very important.

In July 2014, Argentina succeeded to persuade the Special committee of decolonization of the UN and to start new negotiations with the United Kingdom regarding the islands and ignoring the referendum in Great Britain from 2013 to which 99.8% voted that the situation should remain unchanged.

[1] “Falklands' patrol vessels support, allegedly from Brazil and Chile, trigger debate in Argentina”, Mercopress, December 3, 2014, at the Internet address

[2] A sub-regional bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Its associate countries are Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Observer countries are New Zealand and Mexico. More details at the Internet address

[3] Ioana Corina JULAN, “A comparative analysis of Falkland: from 1982 to present”, STRATEGIES XXI Conference: The Complex and Dynamic Nature of the Security Environment, November 25-26, 2014, Centre for Defence and Security Strategic Studies from the "Carol I" National Defence University, Bucharest, pp.238-240

[4]Eugeniu NISTOR, " Aspecte ale crizei de comunicare şi relaţionare în conflictul din Arhipelagul Malvine/Falkland (1982)",  International Conference European Integration -  Between Tradition and Modernity, Targu Mures, 2013, at the Internet address

[5]Lawrence FREEDMAN , Official History of the Falklands, Volume 1: The Origins of the Falklands War, London, Routledge, 2005, p. 25.

[6]Colin FREEMAN, “Britain should open talks with Argentina over the Falklands, says Vladimir Putin”, The Telegraph, September 8, 2014, at the Internet address

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...